(real names have been changed or omitted)
When you realize you aren't married to who you thought you were you may discover that this person hid who they really were and made fake promises of forever to you. He wasn't in it for the long haul. You supplied a fleeting need, a deep empty hole to be filled, a momentary time of idealization of you. It worked for a while. He made you feel special at first and adored you, pinched himself he got you, bragged to everyone about you. But eventually he will become bored. And he will begin to treat you less and less well as he once had. He bitches to his mother in secret about his unhappiness. She in turn will enable his poor behavior on you. Because it's what she knows. And what she does. The hurt he inflicted on you and the way you saw him dismissively treat others for years made you cringe. You witnessed him being short with waitstaff, cashier's and valet's. You voiced your concerns of this which were repeatedly dismissed and denied. Then you internally question his negative behaviors because he proudly parades you around on his arm like a trophy unbeknownst to you at the time that he is further feeding his sick twisted need within him that he has someone so pretty, so talented and so good.
He tells everyone,"She's so good."
A narcissist is good at keeping their public persona intact all the while behaving like the monster he is behind closed doors at home. He may be very complimentary of you toward others. At home he may treat you terribly and abuse you. He is cunning and manipulative and presents a facade of "the good guy." He wants the best for himself. He wants the best for you... because when you have the best of everything he feels puffed up and like an addict who gets his momentary high. IT MAKES HIM LOOK GOOD WHEN YOU LOOK GOOD. But it wears off and there is withdrawal. Like an addict he always needs more and more. He buys you the diamond earrings. He buys a Jaguar. He buys a boat. He buys a big house. He buys art and toys and gadgets. His ego continues to inflate like a hot air balloon. There were glimpses of a larger issue than just ego and image but you second guess and self doubt. Later of course these moments are always crystal clear.
The hurtful words toward you increase, the criticisms of how you are not doing this right, you are not doing enough. It's never enough. He tells you.... You don't give him enough sex even when you are. You don't hug him even when you do. You don't give him enough back rubs when you do. You don't do it right. You don't text him enough. You don't go to lunch with him enough. You don't watch his movies enough. You don't relax. Ah, but today you are relaxing too much... get off your ass and do something! You gain weight and now you're too big. You lose weight and as my ex said to me, "You look like shit. Go look in the mirror. Gain some weight." A narc twists and turns everything to be your fault. He poisons the children with bribery and indulgence to like him more. He undermines your authority and sabotages any good character and responsibility you try to instill in them. He takes zero blame. Because at the core he's criminal. He evades taxes, he speeds, he lies, he breaks rules, he's underhanded in business. You can't keep up with the pressures from him and keep him happy because the rules change daily, by the hour and by the minute. He changes the game on you so you never know the rules in this ongoing cycle of confusion. You can't be enough now. He has sucked you dry like a vampire, he has used you up. You are exhausted and chronically emotionally and physically spent. But the demands increase. He wants anal sex, he wants this, he wants that. You stand your ground and are disgusted by him. You lose all respect for him and for good reason. You are repelled by him and you tell him so.
He pulls further and further away and he seeks new attention outside the relationship to fill that hole. The distance between you widens as that HE MUST FILL his emptiness just like an addict in withdrawal. The man you once knew that adored you, that boasted of you, that loved you.... seeks a new supply to fill that gaping hole. He plays the victim, sighs and shakes his head to others as he lies about you and says "I know... she has issues. I just couldn't help her. I've been so unhappy for a long time." You find out he's been cheating and see the evidence... the ugliness... the outright lies, the hateful words written about you and even the new women... how as my ex so put in in his messages that "all women are dumb". Male narcs laugh at how truly dumb women are in their eyes.. because they fell for his lies, his manipulation and facade. He is discarding you. You are worthless now to him. You mean nothing to him now. Because he's used you up. You shudder and realize this isn't love, this is the devil.
The devil has been in your bed. Sleeping beside you every night. You just THINK you know who you married. The devil has been in your home. The devil has been helping raise your children. The devil has been conning you. The devil has been pinching himself and laughing the entire time.
The devil has infiltrated every aspect of your life.
Who is this devil?
A NARCISSIST at best.
Maybe a Sociopath.
Maybe even a Psychopath.
You married this. Maybe because it's what you knew. Maybe because this was your dad. It presented slightly differently so you erroneously believed "different was okay" ... but just because it's "different crazy" doesn't mean it's not crazy.
You don't have to live with this.
You can kick crazy to the curb.
You have one life.
And it's too precious to waste on the devil.
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. ...
2 Timothy 3:1-7
(real names have been changed or omitted)
I glanced at my Coach watch as I sat in my children's psychologist's waiting room noting it was nearly a quarter to ten. It was almost time, I thought to myself as my eyes surveyed the brightly lit sparse room with magazines, plastic backed chairs and an ocean mural on the opposite wall. My cell phone began ringing and I dug through my purse for it, finally extracting it from an inside pocket. Rising from my chair and seeing who the caller was displayed on the screen, I answered it and slipped outside into the breezeway... leaves scuttling along as my camel hued boots trekked through them... a slight breeze was stirring and caused my hair to whip around my shoulders... "Hello?" I answered.
"Hey..." came the all too familiar voice over the line like that of warm baked bread but today, this morning, it sounded slightly off, like it was pinched and in pain. Two hours earlier I had told him goodbye unbeknownst to him for the last time over breakfast and making two school lunches in our kitchen as he hurried out the door to work.
"I just got served... I wish you would have talked to me first." His words came slowly at first but then rapid as if they were like steam being released from a tea kettle in a quick spurt.
My breath caught momentarily, reality had arrived, and the October wind carried my breath away. "You wish I'd talked to you?" I repeated what he'd said because I couldn't believe anyone could disperse such an unnerving utterance like that. "Oh, I'm so sorry... Well, I wish you'd talked to me first... before you decided to go screw other women." I replied into the phone as my long hair whipped around my head.
"You had indiscretions!" came the verbal assault back at me ninety to nothing and I clutched the phone so as not to drop it on the hard pavement in shock.
"What?!" I gasped.
"Yeah! With Jeremy! You did!" He half yelled, half retorted back and I was now thoroughly convinced he'd fallen and hit his head, maybe suffering some sort of stroke or early dementia because his accusation was just plain crazy.
"Are you crazy?!" I asked him, my immediate world, my surroundings... the bench, the floor to ceiling glass windows revealing other doctor offices along the corridor of the breezeway suddenly began reeling around me in a dizzying kaleidoscope of colors...
"Oh my God... have you lost your mind?" I asked him coldly yet not really expecting an answer from him. Shock and fury overwhelmed me that I was standing accused when I had not stepped out and yet he had multiple times. What was worse is he'd pushed for marital counseling through our church which I'd agreed to and yet not during a single session with our Pastor had he once mentioned any infidelities.
"You fool!" I cried into the phone, You were so insecure, so certain I must have done something you convinced yourself I did, you continually threw him in my face... You're throwing everything away over nothing! I haven't done anything! I don't appreciate being accused of something I haven't done and I don't appreciate you accusing him of doing something with me!" I informed him... pity overwhelming me for him on the line... sudden pity that anyone could be so blind, so insecure, so damn stubborn and not see what had stood before him... faithfulness and two sweet children but instead... looking, fishing, for ludicrously "justifiable" excuses in his twisted paranoid mind for his failing concious choices he had made out of selfish sin. Likewise years ago when I'd been single Jeremy may have walked away out of mounting frustration and I had failed out of weakness to share my heart when we'd dated but the man who had vowed to honor, love and cherish me before God had not followed through and now had the nerve to justify his actions on baseless lies he'd created.
"I'll take the stand and a lie detector test! I have nothing to hide!" I told him... "You're the one who cheats and then you come back and accuse me. I am done." I hung up.
When a spouse has been cheating they may come up with the false idea you have been too. This is called projection. The thief judges by his own condition. They are transferring all of their indiscretions, lies and the facade they've carefully orchestrated for however long as your behavior and the reason for the failure of the relationship.
But this couldn't be further from the truth. They have lived in their alternative world of lust and lies for so long they have convinced themselves the person they know and love must have done the same as they have, that they too are swept up in a quagmire of extramarital sex and conniving deceit fueled by deeply rooted jealousy and insecurity within. But they are wrong. Cheating spouses who are often also narcissistic may twist and spin the truth to suit themselves, to help them feel better, to massage their egos and to justify their meandering souls. But it doesn't work.
You may feel rightly incensed by the false accusations when you've done nothing, like a piece of your heart has been ripped out and in that you may feel bewildered that the one you're with doesn't appear to know you any better than that. Because even in the worst days of your marriage, the days of frustration and irritation, those dark days together when it would have been so much easier to throw in the towel and walk off, but instead you clung to those orginal vows you made, took a deep breath, dusted yourself off and walked in the next room to begin again... you have remained faithful to the marriage no matter what your emotions of the heart have been, no matter what past regrets you may hold and yet now you stand on the pavement among dry brittle detached leaves of October being told all those many many times you dusted yourself off and vowed to begin again, to not give up and tucked yourself under his chin with your hand clasping his in quiet resolve were essentially all for nothing... to now be told it was essentially a waste of your time. It's one of the most tragically tear jerking experiences to realize this and the sadness that goes with it.
You know who you are to your core and eventually you just have to move on and live your life no matter how many times the person continues to falsely accuse you. There are always signs of a cheating spouse however subtle... the signs are there... waiting to be noticed or discovered in the busy day to day activity we call life. Some signs may not be realized until much later, after the fact, in hindsight and you will have moments that cause you to take pause and say to yourself "Now I see why he did this or that... "
That knowledge certainly doesn't make it any easier to swallow and you may beat yourself up (unnecessarily) but don't.... because it's not a reflection of you... it's a reflection of their character. The truth is... you are brave. You gave your heart... you trusted, you believed, you tried. There will always be things you see later with more clarity that you could have done better in a relationship and in that there is grace too... there are always second chances in life and an opportunity to grow.
Signs Of A Cheating Spouse:
1. Any changes physically; working out suddenly, new hair style, tanning, teeth whitening, hair growth regime, new wardrobe, etc.
2. New products; new deodorant brand, new music preferences, new cologne, new shampoo, etc.
3. Shady-ness; won't put his/her cell phone down and seems to be worried you might look at it, now goes to the movies "alone", his work hours change, he/she begins traveling for work more often, hides his history on web browsing, hides calls, deletes texts and photos, makes calls in private or outside, suddenly spends more time with a co-worker, etc.
4. Cleanliness; suddenly he/she is keeping their car cleaner and their clothes go to the dry cleaners with promptness.
5. It's all about them; suddenly he/she needs more "me time" and less couple time... he's off to "play golf" or "see a movie" etc when in reality he's meeting "her" or one of many he's seeing.
6. Sex; he's either withdrawn from you and is never in the mood or he's like a raging horn dog all the time... well, more than usual.
7. You're wrong; and he/she is always right, you can never seem to please them anymore and he/she always seems irritated with you.
8. Turns the tables; he/she used to be a self professed conservative... now their a liberal and wants to make pot legal... you sit there staring at him/her thoroughly convinced they've had a batch of brownies from Portland Oregon over-nighted because clearly he/she's high as a kite.
9. You're "delusional"; you tell him your concerns that he is going on a work trip and will be riding in a vehicle for several hours alone with someone of the opposite sex. You voice how you don't believe this is appropriate considering he's a married man. He/she dismisses your concern and says you're dreaming up a scenario that will never happen and does what he chooses.
10. He/she turns on you; he tells you that you look horrible. He says you need to lose/gain weight, he tells you that he's not happy, he accuses you of being unfaithful when you haven't and he has zero evidence of such.
Telling The Children You're Getting A Divorce: You Will Be Blamed By The Narcissist As The Reason For Divorcing
Friday, October 26th, 2012
(real names have been omitted or changed)
Setting two dinner plates of steaming hot fish sticks, macaroni and cheese and green beans on the dark stained kitchen table I called the kids into the kitchen, "Dinner's ready!" Fresh cups of milk stood ready for them at their place settings and a bottle of ketchup sat on the table. I rounded the brown speckled granite bar counter-top that divided the eating area and kitchen to fetch Parmesan cheese from the refrigerator. Two excited children came running in and slid into their white linen draped parson's chairs, exclaiming happiness it was time to eat and affirming they liked what they saw on their plates. This was the night... he was supposed to be packing a bag with a few days clothes in it with plans to go stay at his mother's house. I had surprised him with divorce papers earlier that day around ten at his place of work after discovering his infidelity three days before. I didn't bother having a conversation because I wasn't going to be married to a cheater. If he didn't have the respect toward me to not cheat I certainly wasn't going to give him the respect of a discussion about it. I'd not said a word, merely filed and had our twelve year marriage come to a legal dissolution process once he'd made the selfish decision not to be loyal. If I had been thoroughly aware of who I'd been married to and what I was dealing with (narcissistic personality disorder) I would have had the locks changed on the house, him locked out, his crap thrown on the front lawn or a bag tossed out and a cop standing guard at the door to keep him from forcing his way in. But no... I had underestimated him. Upon the children getting home from school it was agreed that he would pack an bag and go to his mother's house until arrangements were made about our living situation during the divorce process. In the papers I'd had him served with there was a protective order and he was to vacate the home. Unfortunately though he was taking his sweet time and seemed to be in no hurry... biding his time to come up with a plan of how he could twist and spin this entire situation around to make himself appear to be the victim and instead me the one who was cruel and tossing him out; as if he had never committed infidelity.
As I rummaged in the fridge I heard a loud thud. Turning to my left I see him. Standing there with a huge over-sized suitcase on rolling feet beside him he'd carried down from upstairs. The type you take with you overseas it's so over-sized. Talk about over the top. With a dejected expression on his face he looks past me as if I'm invisible avoiding my eyes to search out the children's eye contact across the room. They meet his and get up from their seats with curiosity to walk around the counter-top. They stop short when they see him with the suitcase standing there with a forlorn expression.
"What's going on?" our son asks. "Where are you going?" He looks confused and likely wonders if he's forgotten about a business trip that was to take place that night. But there was no business trip planned.
"Mommy doesn't love me anymore and is kicking me out of the house." came the pitiful reply marked with a victimized voice of manipulation.
I stop short. I stare at him in disbelief.
He. did. not. just. go. there.
"Excuse me?" I say… but there's no response.
He doesn't look at me. He won't look at me. He purposefully avoids.
I stand there and for a second, a split second everything is still. Then all hell breaks loose.
"What????!!!! She's what????!!!!!" came the cries and then the ugly glares at me from the two little people I love most. The most ugly, accusatory looks filled with contempt joined with pure screams of indignant "How could you???!!!!"
I hear a barrage of "What???!!!" and "Why???!!!" coming at me like mini torpedoes and I am engulfed by them... I can't get a word in edgewise. I try to speak and each time I'm cut off mid sentence, mid word. They hover by him and cling to his arms and begin mercilessly begging him to not go…
The scene painfully horrifically plays out before my eyes… and there's no way to stop it.
"Please don't go Daddy!" they cry out to him and I watch in horror as my son begins yanking the suitcase out of his father's hand, physically un-prying his fingers from the handle in a desperate attempt to keep him there.
Just. pure. evil.
What he's done.
"Mommy told me she doesn't love me anymore. She is kicking me out, guys. I have to go. I love you but I have to move out. She's divorcing me." the tone comes out as manipulatively sad and dejected.
"What??!!! Mommyyyyyy!!! How could you???" our daughter cried out.
I stand in frozen horror as my daughter's sweet little face crumples into what resembles a wadded tissue and she begins wailing like a wounded baby animal hurting and lost in the wild. She glares daggers at me that hurt me to the core… like knives of pain…. like she had been betrayed by her own flesh and blood, me, the mother who had birthed her, then buries her wet face into his shoulder sobbing into his dress shirt.
Oh my God... my heart sank…
this. was. not. happening.
He looks at me now. Directly in the eyes.
With a steady dark-filled gaze and a curled lip of triumphant satisfaction that silently says…...
"Too bad for you."
At the kitchen table my mother sits in frozen silent shock as this atrocious scene plays out and knows as I do this is not how it was supposed to go.
It had been discussed previously that afternoon he would collect his essential things needed and vacate the home quietly as stated in the papers before the children got home from school and we would decide how to tell them in a civilized manner together. Having a calm transition for the kids was of utmost importance to me but that unfortunately was not the way things would turn out. It had been hijacked and there was no turning back now. I decided right then I wasn't allowing this to continue. I wasn't allowing him to make me the fall guy… I'd had enough. It was enough to make your stomach turn and cause you throw up in your mouth.
"We need to sit down and discuss this." I spoke loudly but firmly above the chaotic fray trying to get everyone's attention. Finally everyone settled down and tears rolled down cheeks silently, cheeks that were hot and ruddy… little noses dripped and sniffed as I wrapped my arms around them and gently rocked them.... talking about how some things had come to light and it was best that we not live together anymore…. that mommy and daddy needed to live separately… yes, we were getting a divorce, yes, it was for the best… and that it was not at all their fault… that they were loved. Questions came through sniffs and mumbled words…
My back stiffened and I spoke, "Maybe Daddy would like to answer that question." I replied pointedly turning to look at him.
Silence. Another steady glaring gaze at me filled with what one can only describe as dark hatred. "I'm not taking the fall for this." I told him quietly but matter of fact. "Either you tell them, either you be honest and fix this or I will tell them." I warned him.
Silence in return.
No eye contact.
"Daddy and I have had some issues..." I told them. "And part of that has been him dating another lady. And when you're married you don't do that. That is why I filed for divorce." I told them quietly. I was not taking the fall for this. I was not allowing his agenda to continue. I was not letting them believe this toxic twisted package he had wrapped up with a bow and tried to pass off as legitimate was acceptable. It was beyond evil and sick what had just transpired and only further solidified I'd made the right decision to file for divorce.
Questions were asked and answered as best as possible… but there was no reassuring our son that Daddy was not leaving in the permanent sense but just going to live separately from us for awhile. The damage had been done. Before either of us could stop him he took off running, out of the house, through the open garage and out into the fifty degree night air barefoot… running… running… running as fast as he could down the dark tree lined street… I didn't know if it was the impulsivity of the ADHD or merely simple fight or flight kicking in out of fear, but as we chased him down I waffled between wanting to scream and cry. This couldn't be my children's life…. the destruction caused and the hurt inflicted in this night that could never be undone. Finally, later after physically bringing him back, him fighting like a baby cub, finally, after much talk and trying to stress how it truly wasn't their fault... what would change, what wouldn't, everyone calmed down combined with lots of reassuring and hugs.
When all was said and done and coming to an end he refused to leave. I busied the children, getting them distracted eating their long forgotten now cold dinner as he began lugging his suitcase back upstairs. I left the kids to their dinner and rounded the corner to the hallway… and hissed at him under my breath at the foot of the main floor stairwell,
"Where do you think you're going?" I demanded in a low tone.
"Back upstairs. I'm sleeping here tonight." He replied cooly toward me.
"Not up there you're not." I snapped and shook my head. "You can sleep on the couch downstairs. You're not sleeping in that bed!" I told him.
"It's my bed. I'll sleep in it if I want." He retorted, "You can sleep on the couch downstairs." He added smugly.
I didn't want to call the police (in hindsight I should have that second) and have him escorted out, especially in front of the children yet he was making this all unnecessarily uglier than it should have ever been. "I'm not sleeping on the couch!" I informed him. Eventually he agreed to sleeping in our son's trundle bed and vacating the house on the following day. But the damage had already been done. The children had been put through hell for no reason.
This is obviously a worst case scenario come true. This is not the way to tell your children you are divorcing…throwing one parent under the bus. This is an unfortunate reality if you are dealing with someone who is a narcissistic sociopath. The personal agenda of a sociopath will always trump what should be done in the best interests of the children. Narcissists do not care about their children nor doing what is right. They will always do what they wish and actually enjoy, get pleasure out of seeing you suffer by their dirty hands.
10 TIPS FOR TELLING YOUR CHILDREN YOU'RE GETTING A DIVORCE:
Obviously as can be seen above things don't always go as planned but in the hopes that doesn't happen to you here are some tips.
1. Make a plan together when the children aren't in earshot of you. Figure out exactly what you are going to say. I cannot stress that enough. Usually "We've grown apart", "As you know we've been fighting quite a bit more lately" or "We've tried to work on some issues and it's just not working, we believe this to be best for the family..." etc are good, neutral statements to use when talking to your kids. This doesn't place the blame on anyone but instead acknowledges that yes, there's been a issue(s) and this is the decision that's been made.
2. Do not use a self proclamation of pity and throw your spouse under the bus to earn sympathy points from your children. In the days following telling our children we had a counseling appointment in place for them. At the therapist's office I told the therapist what had transpired the night in telling the children. He looked horrified and turned to address my soon to be ex who in turn pointed out how I'd then told the children he had stepped outside the marriage. The therapist nodded and spoke "Well, yes, I guess she did since you threw her under the bus!" and proceeded to sternly reprimand him for what he'd done. As he spoke his eyes flashed with steely anger at him "Take some responsibility. You need to fix this. You need to man up and tell your children you handled this wrong... that what you did was wrong."
3. Get counseling in place for your children as soon as possible. They are going to need it and be sure to tell any close family members, babysitters, teachers etc. They all need to be aware of the divorce so they can be sensitive to your child's needs and any emotional fallout or acting out that occurs. Children's behavior does tend to worsen during divorce and even in the aftermath of it… for months on end… this is completely normal for them… they are trying to gain some control in a time they feel absolutely none. Continue to set limits and boundaries and rules as you would… like no hitting, no bad words, use your manners, etc… and with that make sure to give lots of extra attention and affection.
4. When you tell the kids do not under any circumstances leave the room. You can't be sure what will be said behind your back and you need to be fully present for such an important conversation.
5. If things get heated be the peace maker. Be the soft place, don't add to the chaos and fray. Be a comforter and focus on their hurt not yours. This is about telling them and focusing on how they feel not how you feel about it.
6. Have another person in the home, someone who is there but doesn't get involved, maybe stays in the next room but merely as a safe extra presence of comfort for your children to go to in their hurt.
7. If the person is abusive use extra caution. Another reason to have someone else there; if anything as a witness and to phone for help if needed. Make sure you have in your divorce papers that are served that they are to vacate the home. Get a protective order if necessary.
8. If you have children who have special considerations and needs like ADHD or are on the autism spectrum, etc be sure you have safety in mind. This is a time when someone may be a flight risk and bolt out of the house, run down the street and/or threaten self injury. As parents it's important to be prepared for the unexpected.
9. Your timing matters. Don't tell them the night before they have a big test, prom, graduation, any major life event or the week of their birthday, around Christmas Eve/Day etc. They will always remember "the day" they are told... don't cast a dark light on an otherwise positive event/day in their life.
10. Do not under any circumstances tell them you're divorcing unless you are 100% sure that you are doing this and you've made the right decision. The last thing you want is to drag your children through an emotional conversation of "were splitting up" then retracting it, creating lots of confusion and resentment. Make certain you are solid with your decision before you include them in this life changer called divorce.
(real names have been changed or omitted)
With shaking hands I dialed my mothers number on my cell phone and waited while it rang. She picked up and I spoke "I have proof he's been unfaithful. I'm filing for divorce." Stunned silence ensued. Then she replied she'd be right over. I hung up the call on my iPhone and stood there clutching the phone, my mind racing and heart pounding like it would burst from my chest. When she arrived fifteen minutes later I opened the door. I started to speak but instead ran to the bathroom suddenly consumed with dry heaves. I was sick to my stomach. My body was shaking and I felt like my whole world had just been tossed on a tilt a whirl. I wanted off this ride from hell that I would later realize was trauma due to betrayal.
Betrayal is not pretty.
That night ironically the book my daughter wanted to read at bedtime was about Jesus and betrayal. When I came to the page illustrating Jesus on the cross and how he was betrayed, my daughter touched my arm and asked "Mommy... what does betrayed mean?" I paused as tears wet my eyes. Her question touched too close to home. Why this night? Of all nights I had to read this book and answer this question? I reminded her of how a little girl at school had recently been rude to her. I explained how when someone is blatantly rude to you at least you know where you stand with them. You know if they are repeatedly rude to you for zero reason that they dislike you, whatever their personal reason or issue may be.
But... what if someone who you thought was your friend... someone who had treated you kindly to your face, had given you the indication you could trust them, that you could confide in them and you fully believed they had your best interests at heart. What if you believed all these things but later found out they had not truly been your friend due to negative behavior(s) toward you behind your back? That they had turned on you? Betrayed you?
I asked her which friend she would rather have?
The answer was easy she said. The true friend.
As difficult as it was to have that conversation with my daughter I'm glad I did. It was such a teachable moment. It's during the times of trials we learn the most. I reminded her that Jesus would never betray her, that He loved her more than she could ever imagine, that He was the most loyal friend she would ever know.
Betrayal trauma was a term I had never heard until after my divorce was over and I was trying to heal. I did not realize this is a real thing but it certainly makes complete sense. When we are betrayed it is traumatic. Other people like to tell us "why can't you just get over it??" but the truth of it is we are trying to grapple with two very different realities. One, this person promised forever and loyalty yet they were living a secret life behind closed doors from us yet sharing the same bed. It creates so much mind bending out of body numbing crazy-making because we are trying to differentiate what is real and what is not. We feel violated by our own partner. Not to mention we feel re-victimized each time someone shuns us for getting a divorce, each time another woman now acts like we're the plague because she feels threatened we are divorced and in her distorted mind might take her husband, and then being blamed for being cheated on because so many people ignorantly believe if you were cheated on you must not have been doing your "wifely duties" ie; giving your husband plenty of wild sex. When in reality you were giving him plenty of sex and nothing could have ever satisfied him because the truth is you now realized sadly you were married to a depraved disgusting sex addict that also likely is closeted in some way, lied about his orientation and or also saw prostitutes and doesn't even know the names of the many partners he's had. He likely also has a porn addiction and some type of other addictive behaviors whether it's drug, alcohol, gambling, spending, etc. You sit there in utter shock that you could have been married to someone so morally despicable and grotesque and wonder why oh why you couldn't have gotten someone decent.
We are now faced with a very uphill battle of trying to find acceptance of our situation. I cannot tell you this will be quick as the process is a very slow one and telling you anything other than that would be a lie. It will be a slow and long tortuous process but it will take place and you will get better. There will be the grieving process of mourning the relationship, the marriage, the family, what we wanted for our children, for our future. It's completely normal to feel a whirlwind of mixed emotions; of rage, numbness, bewilderment, sadness, hurt, disappointment, etc... it's necessary to go through all the feelings and feel them. To numb with distractions or substances is to delay your healing. To push aside feelings or to stuff them is to delay healing. I would highly recommend getting yourself into therapy with someone who is very experienced with narcissistic personality disorder, grief counseling or both. These types of therapists will help you greatly in your healing process.
With betrayal it's definitely not just an ordinary breakup or divorce. You may feel rejected, dumped, discarded, replaced etc. It's normal to feel that way. If you were with a narcissist they likely betrayed you and already had someone lined up to take your place. Because a narcissist does not like being alone and must have supply at all times to feed their ego and gets easily bored they probably already have someone they are seeing or have maybe even promised to marry as soon as your divorce is final. This can be another devastating blow to us as we realize this person views other people as disposable and does not truly value them as individuals. Narcissists do not value people. They date and marry them to use them and abuse them. They are never faithful. You and their other partners could have been anyone. They literally do not care about you or the hurt they have inflicted on you.
With betrayal trauma the best way to begin healing is to take the necessary steps. To either go no contact or if you have children only engage in the absolute minimum contact needed to share information about the children. It will be very imperative that you do this to limit your interactions because repeated interactions with a narc causes us to spiral back in our progress. And from here forward we want you to not only heal from what you've endured but to actually thrive despite a hurting heart.
Jennifer Gafford is a writer, speaker, coach on NPD abuse and recovery. She helps guide men and women exit a NPD relationship, gives emotional support, and gives guidance through the pain of trying to co-parent with their narcissistic ex.