After the Narcissistic Marriage

 

It’s Narcissist Friday!

 

(Yes, there is life after the narcissist.  This is the first in a series of posts designed to encourage and help those who have been released from a relationship with a narcissist.  Because there are several forms of narcissistic relationships, I will be writing about each one separately.  We will consider life after the narcissistic spouse (or intimate partner), the narcissistic parent, the narcissistic friend, the narcissistic co-worker, and the narcissistic organizational leader.  Each of these is different.  In fact, even if you are not in most of these relationships, you should find a little more insight and encouragement in yours.  And, believe it or not, some people find themselves in more than one.)

 

So, it’s over.  Now what?  How do you feel?

You are probably worn out.  You may be empty of emotion, but full of questions.  All kinds of things going through your mind and heart.  You probably feel:

Betrayed – you didn’t really see this coming.

Worthless – Narcissists drain the self-worth of their victims.

Beat up – Like someone punched you just about everywhere.

Confused – Did he/she ever really love you?  If yes, then why this?  If no, then what the heck was that?

Scared – Now what?

Sad – So much has been lost, and for what?

Tired – The tired you get after a long battle that shouldn’t have been necessary.

Angry – Really angry.

Hopeful – Maybe just a hint, but it’s there.

When multiple emotions are running through your heart, be patient with yourself.  Hold off big decisions that you don’t have to make.  Take some time for yourself, even if it is just starting that new hobby.  You have been through a battle and you need some rest.

There are so many ways the marriage can end.  And so many differences within every marriage.  Some end suddenly and unexpectedly.  Some end as a result of hard decisions and grim determination.  Some have children.  Most have mutual friends.  Almost all are complicated.

The fact that the end of the relationship is complicated and leaves a mess should be expected.  There may be anger on both sides, and pain, and confusion.  You may have to see and interact with the narcissist from time to time.  That can be hard.  You may find yourself drawn back into the same arguments, the same feelings.  But things have changed.

How long does it take to get over something like this?  That’s a question I get often.  The answer is that it takes as long as it takes.  Some seem ready to go the moment the relationship ends.  Others take years.  Obviously the length of time the relationship lasted affects how long it will take to get through the pain and grief.  And some parts just aren’t something you can set aside.  You may have to deal with damage caused by the narcissist for a long time, perhaps years.  And he/she may still be causing new damage.  But there will be progress.  You will grow stronger.

Will you find someone else?  Do you want to?  There are good people out there, people who know how to love.  Trust that you are lovable and you have something to offer.  Be careful, but don’t be afraid.  Don’t commit quickly.  Narcissists seem to sense people who have had previous narcissistic relationships.  Watch for the signs.

Remember this:  Healing doesn’t happen on the outside.  It happens on the inside.  Let the good things happen inside.  Whatever changes happen in your outward circumstances, know that real change is happening in your heart.  Believe the truth.  Accept that you are accepted.  You are loved. 

 

Help me out here.  What would you say to someone who is just starting to move past the narcissistic intimate relationship?

 

109 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

109 responses to “After the Narcissistic Marriage

  1. prodigalkatherine

    For someone who is just beginning the moving on process:

    You are stronger than you feel. Absorb the body blow before you try to make forward progress. This doesn’t mean to stop living, but it does mean to be incredibly gentle with yourself. Don’t let the harsh judgment of the narcissist continue to inform your self concept. When you start to have one of those days when you feel like a failure stop and take a deep breath. Then find a way to show yourself the kindness the narcissist deprived you of. Do you doubt that you could be worth the kindness? Tell yourself: I am a child of God. I was created to reflect his glory. Taking the time to heal is a wonderful way to honor the investment God has made when He created me.
    Hugs.

    • Fellow Survivor

      I am just at the end of my 23 year marriage. The mediation was last week. Why am/was I so weak. I let her push me around in mediation just like she has in our marriage. I guess its because I was afraid of the reaction I would get if she didn’t get her way, which is not pretty. The thing that I regret most is all the sacrifises I made for her. Whatever she wanted if it was in my power to get it for her i did. None of that mattered to her.

      • Fellow Survivor (Although not feeling like it right now)

        All those feelings described starting with betrayal, I have them and have for a very long time. The most disdurbing aspect of all this is the indifference show towards me. And now after 23 years its like nothing to her. For years I made much more money than she did and now she is making more than me. And poof. I am no longer usefull to her. Being used for so long is what really hurts. I thought in marriage when one is down the other helps them up. But in my case shen I am down she just puts her foot on my head. It just doesn’t make any sinse. Unless you admit that these people just can’t love. Love doe not treat people like this

      • prodigalkatherine

        Fellow Survivor- I am very sorry for your pain. It is devastating to feel so used and then so….. nothing.
        It seems like you have made a lot of progress in understanding with your head that she is the one who is disordered if she is capable of disposing of her husband of 23 years without batting an eye. Yet- there’s the head, and then there’s the heart. The heart just wants validation that something from the last 23 years meant anything at all. It makes sense.
        I wonder if part of the pain comes from the fact you are still so deeply connected on a soul level that you take her word for who you are and what you meant. The “one flesh” connection is not easily broken.

        I will pray that you will be released from the burden of viewing yourself through the eyes of a narcissistic ex. It’s a terrible curse to carry a burden like that.

        You are God’s son and you were created for His glory, not to be used up and thrown away. Though it may not feel like it, God can use this suffering if you come to Him, on your knees. You can be healed.

        How do I know? Because only in the utter devastation of losing a narcissistic husband could I fully understand grace. God wanted me- right then- broken and dirty- and He loves me unconditionally. He loves you, fellow survivor, as well.

        Peace, brother.

  2. Carolyn

    For those of you who are still reeling….
    Pray, Pray, Pray….
    Immerse yourself with God’s Word….HE LOVES YOU UNCONDITIONALLY!
    Make a list with two columns. In the first column, list what you THOUGHT the relationship was like (what it was like in the beginning….all the promises, the soul mate, the beauty of it all). In the second column, list what it was REALLY like. Keep the list handy…and look at when you feel weak.
    Surround yourself with supportive family and friends.
    Exercise, eat well, and practice self-care (perhaps for the first time in your life).
    Love SOMEONE OR SOMETHING with abandon…whether it is a child, an animal, a friend, a family member. Give your heart to someone that you know is SAFE.
    Take time to heal…and don’t jump back in to dating. Use this time to fix those parts of you that enabled your N to take advantage of you.

  3. A Byrne

    I would say, “Be good to yourself- everyday.”

  4. I was married for 13 years. I gave up myself, my life, my hopes, my wants….everything, because none of that made him happy…and now? Now he says I was a whore. The worst wife and mother of all time. He says I was selfish. That I was/am controlling.
    Its sad to say, but you’ll have to get used to this new person who you spent your life trying to please, who now wishes you were dead. There is nothing to make it better other than to realize its not you. No matter how much they say its you who is the problem, the issue, the reason for their unhappiness…it was NEVER you.
    The less time you spend applying logic to their insanity the saner you will feel. Do your best to move on. No contact. NO CONTACT. Get your life back. Be happy.

    • Sammi

      @lookingforward I understand. I am being called the same names. I was a faithful wife and to be called a slut is just insanity. I cannot say I wish I did not have children with him, because they are great kids … but all the horrible things he does to me in court and behind their back and all of the court people saying never to say a bad thing about Dad.. the world is still insane over here. I would love to do no contact. It is very hard when you have children. Tips welcome.

      • Lisa

        “I was a faithful wife and to be called a slut is just insanity.” This is my experience exactly. I was able to obtain a protective order so I do not have to have much contact beyond hearings and discussions about the kids, so that is helpful. The things he accused me of are just crazy. I am so glad that I saw the craziness and got out.

      • The kids make the no contact rule impossible. It’s the crazy world since he continues to be in my life because of the kids. He says he wants to see them but the visits have nothing to do with them and they don’t feel safe. What they really want is that image of a good dad. But he’s not capable of that … of putting them first. I wish we lived in different states/towns so that weekly roller coaster could stop .

    • Anna

      How can I? I feel so betrayed and lost he left us economically ruin, emotionally unstable. 17 years together, never his fault always mine, never done nothing for him, and I gave him my soul. And with a child that he hasn’t contact for two months and he is 10. Have to leave the place we rented cause I can’t pay by myself. He is put me in to finaciall debt cause he couldn’t stop spending from visa, even if we didn’t had food on fridge, I work more than he did and I cooked cleanup and took care of our son. And after all the charming he does to others he just got a new woman, and I felt like.so miserable cause he says she is the one….I cried and cried and even fought I wished ever I night that he would disappear now, I feel so sad and broken. My name is Anna and I am from Barcelona

      • Dawn Knowles

        Oh Anna…the betrayal, the fear, the sadness… I know exactly what you are feeling and going through. For me it was 28 years and two children who were, thank God, over 18, which made them totally irrelevant to him as far as the divorce, even though one was in college and the other still living in the “family home” and both still financially dependent on us. They no longer speak to their father or have anything to do with him. (my fault, of course, in his eyes. :-/) You are in a battle for not just money and possessions, but for your life and your son’s life…a battle between good and evil!! But… from someone who has been through it and cares about you….YOU WILL SURVIVE THIS BATTLE!! You will be okay!! It will be long, and hard and heartbreaking… listening to the lies he will tell about you and your relationship, and struggling financially. Your son is old enough to understand that your ex is not mentally stable, and he will be such a help and blessing for you! My boys are the one big reason I made it through. They still needed me…and your son needs you be strong for him. And as far as the new woman…the joke is on her…she is to be pitied, for she is his next victim. You are strong and you are lovable and you are loved.. remember that please. Take care!

  5. Here’s what I’d say to someone who is just getting over a long-term relationship with a narcissist: Be kind to yourself. It takes time to recover.

    If you’re just starting the legal process, I’m so very, very sorry. It will be very hard. My narcissistic husband WANTED our marriage to be over because I had become an obstacle between him and the other woman. It took 16 months for our divorce to be final and he continued to file frivolous motions regarding the children for another 6 months. Even though he rarely saw the children.

    Also, I have a series on my blog about recovering from midlife divorce. The first entry is here: http://bit.ly/11Hqaum

    • Fellow Survivor

      Elizabeth, thank you for pointing me in the direction of the “DivorceCare” support group. Went to my first meeting Wednesday Night. The things that destroyed my marriage were lying, hiding money, the non-apology, and the non-gratefulness for all that I did for her. No matter haw much I gave, it was never enough.

      • Carlos

        hi…i married her…i was an econ major..she didnt speak english, both latinos in south america, paid for english school in canada, paid for community college 2 yr degree, paid for universit 4 yr degree, paid for master degree in Boston, gave her everything…nothing was enough, nothing, slowly i got sick and then very sick with depression, i did no know what it was…whe i was so low my business ended…then the affairs…then she kicked me out of the house i paid and built with the cops alleging abuse…then 20 lawsuits…havent seen my daughters nor spoken to my daughters in 3.5 yrs…the lawsuits continue…i finally realized she is insane…not me…it is forever…you have to restart from zero…move away physically as far as you can…you will have an enemy for the rest of your life. pray a lot. God is with you

  6. Jane Costagliola

    It is very important to find a good therapist that can help you deal with narcissism. Don’t ever think that because you love a narcissist that he is able to return that love. Narcissists are not capable of loving you. They are more concerned with appearances and what other people will think about them. Once you confront the narcissist and are no longer under their control you are useless to the narcissist and they will do whatever it takes to make themselves look good. My husband tried to get me classified as crazy, he called the police on me and tried to get me committed to a psychiatric hospital. Always remember you are loved and God is there for you all the time. I prayed and started saying the rosary this gave me all the strength I needed to grow spiritually.

    • Fellow Survivor

      Jane, So true. “once you confront the N and no longer under their control you are useless to them” Am I the only male that is suffering on this site? For some reason I can only post about 7 or 8 lines per post so I may post serveral. We were in a fight about finances that should have been jusst th ordinary discussion about how are we going to get through thses hard times. It escalated into a yelling match and then I just disengaged. Because she was no longer getting my attention she kicked me in a bad spot for a guy. I was not expecting it and she had never done that before so it was a shock. She threatened to call the cops on ME. We were able to separate and go to different rooms.

      • Fellow Survivor

        The next week we were getting frisky but I told her we have to discuss that fight that became physical. She denied it ever happened. I could not have sex with her. A week later she was out with her friends and came home drunk demanding sex. I told her I just be intimate with you until you apologies and promise it will never happen again. She would not do it. She sent me an email telling me how much she missed the od me that loved her etc.

      • Fellow Survivor

        read post directly below first. She would never apologise or even acknowledge what had happened. So we were never intimate again and she divorced me. If a woman is hit by her husband and then he demands sex is that “withholding sex” from your spouse or just common sence. Ladies , was I wrong? I set a boundry. If there is physical violence ththen no intamacy. I thought she would get the message. I wrote her a letter saying the mental, verbal, emotional, and now physical abuse has got to stop. Its not good for you, its not good for me, its not good for the children, and its not good for our marriage. This kind of “undoing” by using sex to make me forget some cruel act just wa not going to work anymore. Was I wrong? AM I crazy? My daughter just returned from a mission trip where there were bugs in th e shower, I mean lits of bugs and chickens roosting in the bathroom that pooped in the sink. They served the children daily. I asked her shat was better, her christian camp which she loves, or this experience. She told me the mission trip because camp is about the campers but this trip was about serving Jesus. This is the kind of child I rased but my Ex still treated me like crap. I just don’t get it.

      • prov31woman

        Fellow Survivor-
        You are not wrong for not wanting to be physically intimate with your wife after she hit you. Who would? However, a narcissistic person sees it that way. I have experienced the same thing with my spouse. Although he has not physically abused me in a long time, there is still a lot of emotional. They just don’t have the ability to understand that
        they’ve hurt you in one way or another, & that real intimacy cannot be achieved when one is still hurting. You were right to stand up for yourself. I pray that you will continue to stand your ground, & that you will lean on God through all of this. Only He can and WILL give you the healing and unconditional love that you need. Read Jer.29:11 It has gotten me through many tough times because it reminds me that God only wants the very best for me. God bless you!

    • Sammi

      @JaneC Uncanny.. my ex did the exact same thing. He called the police on me, lied to therapists behind closed doors to try and make me look crazy and then subpoenaed them to court. He is extremely talented at convincing others of things and playing innocent. I feel sorry for all the people he is lying to that are busy smearing my name, they do not even know they are being lied to and used.

      • Kathy

        My husband was a N and after 18 years of a marriage that progressively became bad enough I had to make him leave and divorced him. He then proceeded to turn my children against me by making me look like a bad mom, lying to our families and friends, lying to our children and still after being divorced for 8 years he still works sabotaging my relationships with our three children. I was told too not to say bad things about the ex to the children and I refrained from that as best I could but he has not. I am remarried. He has not remarried or dated since our divorce and lives a very solitary life. I wish he would stop messing with our children’s heads.

  7. I have been married to an N for 12 years, although I didn’t realize it until a couple years ago. It hit me like a ton of brick, I should have known. I have a couple of big N’s in my family and I have training in the mental health field. How did I not realize what he was? Once I did, things made more sense, it got easier (never easy though). Divorce is not really something I am considering but I have thought about it in the past. After all this struggle, pain and loneliness I just don’t think I would ever get married again. I realize now it’s probably because I married an N- not marriage itself. I really appreciate these posts and comments. I find them encouraging and supportive- I look forward to Fridays

  8. Rita Cizek

    I can offer three things through my experiences (35 years controlled and abused by the most handsome, publicly charming, witty, intelligent, powerful, appearance-driven, worldly successful, convincingly good at faking that he loved God, and turn-on-a-dime cruel when the front door to our home closed every day when he came home)

    1) I agree wholeheartedly with the writer who urged NO CONTACT. This is because they can continue to hurt and manipulate you and continue to damage you and keep your mind confused and worried about what they are currently doing to further destroy you. If you cooperate and allow contact of any kind, except through your attorneys, it will be SO HARD to keep Jesus’ peace in your soul. It also gives them great satisfaction, and a sense that they still control all aspects of you, while not having to even pretend to care anymore.

    2) Surround yourself with other Christians who will encourage you to take the high road in your behavior toward the divorce or whatever. Christians who will pray for you when you are too weak to pray, when your faith is sorely tested, when you can’t remember what your identity is in Christ Jesus, who will allow you to vent and love you anyway.

    3) Don’t try to fill your voids with meeting someone to date. Just crumple at the foot of the cross, cry out to your Real Father, who will hold you and show you how to fill the voids of loneliness, need for direction, identity, etc. with time.

    I am so very sorry for the brother who is just experiencing how cruel and false his N wife was. I am praying for you that God helps you know in your heart that His values are not what this world values, and that He does have redemption for your heart; you are so treasured by Him. Your brokeness is a precious offering, if you give it to him. It has taken me 2 full years to progress this far, and in looking back, I see that all of the hard work to move forward and start healing, was all God’s Grace, even though at the time I thought it was my hard work to keep my heart pointed toward God. I see now, that even that hard work was His loving Grace that accomplished it.

    • Fellow Survivor

      Thank you Rita and Katy. Katy, the Soul connection is lessening. Boy it was bad there for a while. Everyday and minute of excutiating. I would lay awake at night praying, crying out for Jesus to take this pain away. Unstich my heart from hers. Now there are just those moments. But if I stay focused on all the bad stuff she did to me then I can remember the good for what they were. Just good times. I read somewhere that they just get bored. Marriage can be boring when yu you are raising kids. Her loss not mine. She will meet the other not very nice people out there and learn the hard way

      • Fellow Survivor

        Rita, I agree completely. I had a sort of date the other day and the next day the very nice lady texted me starting with: “Thinking of You” Wow, I thought she really liked me. Then I realized she just left church and was thinking about how broken I am but Jesus will heal me. (That is a funny story. I am definately not ready to date yet) I try No Contact to the best of my ability. That lady scares me.

  9. Sue

    After 14 years of marriage my N husband met someone else and left me. The pain was unbearable as all of you know. What you may find interesting is that even though we’ve been apart for almost three years, I still would go back to him in a heartbeat. This would make little sense if you knew me. I’m educated, successful and have a great self image. But I am still under his spell–even though I cognitively recognize that he treated me horribly. I’ve been working through a great book, The Betrayal Bond, Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships by Patrick Carnes. It helps me understand why I am still drawn to him. It is called a “trauma bond.” Google the term or his book. I would recommend this book to anyone who has left a N relationship and still isn’t over the N. It is a significant part of my healing.

    • 32yrsNowWhat

      Hello Sue, I just read your post and seem to be in a similar position as you. I too was married to a N for 32 years who met left me for another woman. The pain is devastating and I feel I may never be totally myself again. I too am educated, successful, and confident. However, I feel I would take him back after 8 months but cannot exactly explain why. I plan to purchase the book you have recommended with hopes of it helping me heal also. Thank you so much for your post. Prayers and hugs to you.

      • Carlos

        you have to look at it as an accident…like you were mugged…or tha you went irak and lost your legs…the wouns of the hear hurt more…think of a war vet…emotional trauma plus physical wounds and abandoned by your country..for what? like Vietnam a war that didnt make sense…that was your war…you are a vet or handicapped txs to the N. You will never be the same, nothing will…but you will be stronger but the trauma and the amputatios will linger and hurt…with time they will hurt less and less…

  10. Joy

    I left my narcissist husband 3 years ago…we have now been divorced for a year and a half, and yet this battle I don’t want to be in rages on. I thought things might change when I left (that we might be able to heal things), but he just got more verbal about how I never measured up and how it was all my fault. He is passive aggressive so he never looks like the bad guy…it’s all under a cloak of charm. His blaming killed what hope I had left…I’d thought surely he loved me as he said, and would admit that he holds some responsibility for the impasse, but no…it was all my fault. I’d tried to love him unconditionally, and had that thrown in my face when I finally left after so many years.

    I hardly saw him at all the first year because I was so devastated…it was like I’d been beaten and had no more strength left after the near 30 years we’d been married. Then the public relations game started…his hang dog looks, his making friends again with people we’d stopped seeing years ago…his sudden penchant for hugs and affection with our friends and children. He doesn’t talk badly of me because that would reflect on him, and he is so charming that no one can fathom that I spent all those years being rejected, and looked down on, and made the scapegoat for every bad thing that happened…even things that were clearly his responsibility were my fault because he would have done better if he’d had a better wife. And no one would believe or imagine that this man who is now hugging and so sweet refused to be affectionate (because I wasn’t good enough) and withheld sex (because I was too heavy..no matter what weight I was). His silence about our divorce makes him a hero, and if I were to say what happened I look like the villain for speaking so about such a great guy.

    What would I tell someone who is leaving their narcissist? I guess I would tell them that their everyday life can be more peaceful when they are not walking on eggshells all the time, but I’d also have to tell them that just because they don’t want to play the narcissist game, does not mean that their narcissist will quit playing it. Your narcissist will likely still try to influence your children and friends..and if he’s any good at all at this narcissist thing, he will likely succeed.

    I don’t really know how to handle this. Right now, I feel at a new kind of low…everything to him is a game he has to win. I don’t want to lose my (grown) children’s regard or my friendships. But I’m not good at this game he is playing. I have been refusing to play it, but it looks like I’m going to lose by default that way. I spoke up to my children, and they understood a bit better, but lately my ex is so charming that they are convinced that Daddy has changed…but I still seeing him playing the same games…but he does it in such a quiet, charming manner. The worst part is that sometimes even I can fall under that spell…how can I expect others to see though it?

    • Rita

      Dear Joy, I just read your comment on the Grace for My Heart narssisist site from 2013. I’m Rita, whose comment is just a few before yours. I just hurt for you so much, and wanted to know if your ex is still fooling people, or if your children were hurt again by their dad and have gained insight. I know how crazy it makes you feel, and then you question your own judgement – wondering if you’re exaggerating or making up the severity of his cruelty. I also noted your comment was written in the wee hours of the night, and hope you are able to sleep deeply these days. I was married 1 month shy of 35 years. Its been almost 3 years since the divorce, and I’m still struggling with trying to block out his critical “voice” that tells me to give up, I’ll never be anything without him. Please write back if you’d like. Maybe we could be an encouragement to oneanother.

      • Joy

        Hi Rita, Thank you for your reply. My ex is still doing the same things…but his veneer is wearing a little thin with some people I think. I don’t have much contact with him even though he lives just blocks from me. But I hear from my kids sometimes about how they feel manipulated by him. It’s a new thing for them to be plainspoken about it. My daughter in law recently said she feels that ex has no real friends, but uses our son as his friend. She worries about this, and I think it’s sad. My son loves his dad, but he is the one most aware of the games ex plays…and he loves his dad, but would not choose him as a friend if they were not related. Ex does charm everyone, but doesn’t know how to have a real relationship where there is give and take….so she is probably right…even his friends of 30 years are not particularly close to him….and I don’t think ex even understands why.

        One thing that is good, is that I don’t spend as much time worrying about it anymore. People who buy his act are, unfortunately, people I’m just going to have to let go.

        In one case I did meet with a woman who was one of my best friends. He’d led me to believe that he was now very close to her and her husband, that they were asking him over all the time…and this hurt because she had not called me at all during the separation and divorce. Turned out that he was manufacturing this info…they had not been asking him over, and she was really just caught up in some awful things that were happening in her life and that was why I hadn’t heard from her. She was appalled that he would use her to hurt me though. So…for the most part I let it go, but when it was someone who really meant something to me, I had an awkward meeting with her and asked her what was going on.

        This winter we will have been divorced 4 years. It has taken me this long to feel more free of him and that critical voice you speak of. I still struggle with it sometimes. Seeing him with other women after the divorce has been awkward/difficult/revealing. I watched the first woman being charmed..and also watched him trying to change her so that she would be more like what he wanted…some of the same things he did with me. I felt bad for her when I saw this woman who was a beautiful blonde come in to church one day with brunette hair. I knew she was probably trying to please him…and he actually bragged to me later that she changed her hair color for him. Then more recently he was dating a very nice woman…they are on and off right now I hear, because she has been confronting him on some of his uncaring behavior….when he’s not being the hero, he is oblivious to anyone else’s needs.

        I actually pray every day for women who come in contact with him. I pray that they will be discerning, because he is so subtle and charming…they have no idea for such a long time. If he’s changed, that’s all good…but if not, I hate to see anyone else go through what I did. This last woman dated him 2 years, and is just now seeing some chinks in the armor.

    • Hephzibah

      Joy, not sure if you are still seeing comments on this thread, but if so, I would be interested to know how you are doing by now. I can hear you loud and clear, and pray that God has protected your relationships with your children and has brought you strength and healing… I am in my 39th year with my N husband. It has been five years since I realized what was really going on – the narcissist game I have been a pawn in. I have been trying to eke out a place for me in my own world without divorce. Just knowing the truth feels like freedom. But only to a degree. It is a struggle. But I wonder how many problems divorce would solve at this point. Your comment that the eggshell walk is over but the games go on is sort of what I have been thinking. We have multiple grown kids and grandkids. It’s not like his life would no longer affect mine after a divorce. No details, but it is still to my husband’s advantage to keep me on. He has tried to bully me back into my old role, of course, but I am resisting. He has recently been resorting to some of his old tried and true N tactics – trying the charm and kindness thing. I am not fooled. It is completely a ruse. Manipulation is the name of the game. Mostly I struggle with blaming myself for having been fooled in the first place. And for the struggles I see my kids having. And I don’t think I would ever get rid of those struggles and the self-blame even if I was on my own…

      • Joy

        Well, my life was soo tense when I was with him…and it seemed to be getting worse. The more I tried to protect myself from his rejection and disdain, the more of it was heaped on.

        My home is a haven now. I moved and found a small house, that I can keep up. One of the things he withheld from me was caring for our home..it was falling apart, while he helped make other’s homes showplaces. I was not enough of an audience for him, plus he got his kicks by withholding anything I wanted or needed. So now, I have this little home where I live with my dog, and it’s not far from one of my children’s homes. I come home and don’t have to dread the mood in the house, or wonder what I will be blamed for. I keep it repaired and attractive. To me, this peace on a daily basis is worth the gut wrenching troubles I went through to leave. Things are so much more peaceful that several chronic health problems went away…I had no idea they might be stress induced!

        I tried to just accept things and stay. For me, it just didn’t work. There was still so much stress in living with him, and once I knew what he was up to, and that it was so unlikely to change, my hope for our marriage and even my life pretty much died. Hopelessness is the worst…like I was in a deep hole.

        I still see him up to his old tricks, but most of the time it does not involve me. The kids see it more clearly now, because I’m no longer there to act as a buffer. I think it’s sad they have to know that their dad is a all image and is such a manipulator, but it definitely does make them wiser when they deal with him. They still love him, but look at him as probably having been damaged in his childhood (which I think is probably true). I am happy that my kids are loving, and also strong…they are resisting being pushed around by him.

        Another thing that happened, was that my daughter was heavily involved with a man like her father, at the time that I left. He was charming and extremely manipulative. She was already having anxiety attacks the more they were involved. They were on the verge of getting engaged, when she finally broke it off with him. She said partly it was because that she’d seen me do it…and she knew how deeply I loved her dad. She knew she’d survive because I did. Eventually she met a man, who is not a mask…he is a real man who is not afraid to let people see who he is, laugh at himself, not afraid to appreciate her, and wants to meet her needs (not deny them).

        I have a friend in your situation. She stayed. She is happier even where she is than she was, because she has accepted that she will likely never have a real loving marriage…that it’s all about appearances to her husband. Basically, she does what she wants, and tries not to care what he thinks. It’s hard though…because she is a very caring person. She is a Christian too, and is faithful to her husband, but she can’t rely on him.

  11. prodigalkatherine

    Time will ultimately take the shine off the new false image he is working so hard to maintain. I am so sorry for all you have been through. Trust that your children will always love you. You are irreplaceable and they have experienced your love over the years while they lived with a cruel father. It is their need to hope that he has changed that makes them so receptive to their father. If by chance your ex really is changing, they will see it in how he treats you. In all likelihood, something will happen that will cause the cracks in his new image to be apparent. They will be crushed and they will need your insight when it happens. Nothing you can do will bring their new understanding about and it’s best to just let it unfold naturally. It’s so hard to wait, though.

    • Sammi

      @Joy and @ProdigalKatherine.. “If by chance your ex really is changing, they will see it in how he treats you.” Yes.. I agree, and since the ridiculous accusations in court have not stopped, since trying to have me declared crazy to try and take away all custody of my small children has not stopped, he can talk from here to the sky about what a great Christian he is.. he calls me “the prodigal” and tells people that I was doing all kinds of violent things to him and none of it is true. The truth is, he hit me and he hit one of our children and I decided to divorce him and I told his pastor and he is ticked off that I outed him to his pastor, and put tarnish on his image that he is doing everything to destroy me. When the children tell me Dad is changing a little (but they are still terrified of him).. I do not believe it. If he ever changes he will apologize to me and publicly apologize for lying about me under oath. Apologize to the therapist that he lied to about me that he used by calling him to testify against me. and most of all apologize for hitting his son, and admit it. The friends of ours that see his actions are disgusted and want nothing to do with church or all Christians because he is a “super Christian” yet look how he behaves toward his wife, calling the police on her for no reason, to make a court case, in order to try to build his reputation and destroy mine with the goal being to not pay child support and to “win”. Yet he is so regarded in church.. the poor poor man whose wife left him … I can only imagine what terrible things are being said about me over at that church. How in the world can the truth ever be known in this ridiculous web of lies. I want no part of it. If my children were grown I would move away.

      • Joy

        ” If he ever changes he will apologize to me and publicly apologize for lying about me under oath. Apologize to the therapist that he lied to about me that he used by calling him to testify against me. and most of all apologize for hitting his son, and admit it.”

        Yes! This is how I would know he’d really changed, and none of it is happening. People like to say he’s changed because he’s not reclusive anymore, but instead charming the socks off of everyone, and being everyone’s hero. But he has no regret expressed over how he treated me….and anyone who understood how devastating it was to have affection, love, affirmation withheld for years on end (and blamed for everything), would be expressing true regret over hurting their spouse that way. No, he has not changed, but he is perfecting his act. 😦

  12. Fellow Survivor

    Prov31, Thank you for reaffirming my decision to avoid intimacy after physical abuse or any kind of abuse without a firm and true apology. This had been going on for 10 years and she could “cover” all her abuse wtih great sex all these years. As a guy, this may seem odd but the women can be devistatingly abusive to the point of completely destroying a man. The question is, for what purpose? Why/ Anyway, thaks for thinking of me and my situation. Nice guys are people too. I sometimes wonder if I should grow a mean streak, but then I decide, thats not me. I don’t want to be mean.

    • Fellow Survivor

      Great strory, right out of N playbook. Ex takes daughter to Europe for 2 weeks. Wants me to pick her up from airport. Has daughter call to make request. I say I am too busy and who knows when flight will get in and customs clearance etc. I say sorry daughter. I get 2 texts from Ex. ” I can’t believe you don’t love your daughter enough to pic her ups” Then, “I have been traveling all day, I hopoe I get her home safley”. The Ex told me two things in the past, one “you will do anything for daughter” likethats bad and ” “you will never leave daughter” Well duh. I pretty much told her, your boyfriend is going to have to wait, bring her home your self. I have spent the last 26 years doing everything in my power to make her life easier. But no more. Find another sucker.

  13. Ruth Ellen Bennett

    Even though I ended the marriage, the pain was overwhelming. He ,of course moved right on. I was the evil one. But with real friends(not easy to recognize at first), a good therapist, after three years , I still get confused time and again, there is a light. I did not jump into dating. I got up every day and went to work. I prayed as often as I could. Reconnected with family that I had neglected in the fog I thought was love. I have to pay him every month since he won’t work. Some states have crazy laws. My best advice beside no contact is to think of yourself first in everything, even if your kids are concerned because you can’t be there for them if you’re not okay. It does improve, but takes time and faith in yourself. He is still moving from relationship to relationship. Thank God I am not. Don’t know what’s ahead, but moving forward is better than just moving on. Trust your gut, pray for strength,and take care of you. R…

  14. Ruth

    I’ve just discovered that I’ve married a narcissist. We’ve been together 11 years. Fairy tale romance, showered me with love and adoration, moved from France to marry me here in the States. It was good for a while, then he exhibited unusual anger or fits whenever I questioned something he did or said. Often saying ” You never trust me”, “You never believe anything I say” He had a way of twisting reality and I bought into it and am so confused about what really happened. I found myself questioning my own sanity and I was always feeling guilty for causing a problem, issue or fight. He left to accept a job in China three years ago. I didn’t want him to leave and begged him not to take the job. There was no discussion. He promised we would skype twice a day and that I would be able to move there with him in a year if the job was going well. Of course, communication was almost nill. In the last three years, we were together for a total of 5 weeks. He video skyped once, called on the phone 4 times. Since then, he’s cut most avenues of communication with me, leaving only email. He has blocked my phone so I cannot call him. He told me he couldn’t give me his home address because he couldn’t translate it to English. This last year I tried relentlessly to save the marriage and relationship, completely unaware that I was immersed in the text book version of a spousal/narcissist co-dependant relationship. I’m just now going into therapy. I can’t sleep, eat or think straight. I go through every nuance of our relationship from beginning to end, rethinking everything, trying to make sense of the fact it was all a lie. How could I have been so completely drawn in, controlled and allowed myself to suffer the abuse, over and over and over again? But that’s part of my own dysfunctional issues with low self-esteem and self deprecation. I have a very long road to recovery through therapy and medication.

    • UnForsaken

      Ruth, the long road is worth it and gets shorter with every step. Your going the right direction! Try Not to make sense of things that aren’t logical ….right now your healing is most important, looking at Truth and reality.
      Keep on keeping on! I’ll be praying for you, and God is by your side!

      • Ruth

        You know I was praying night and day for the restoration of our marriage for the past 9 months. I know I am deeply blessed and that the Lord is watching over me and thankfully, His plan is guiding me away from the abuse that I was unable or unwilling to recognize. Thank you for your kind words. It means so much and I am grateful for it.

  15. Repol

    After discovering a number of new lies yesterday, I have finally decided that I can’t just keep doing the same thing: trying to talk about why the lying and the behavior the lies cover is hurtful and therefore it should stop, lowering my standards again, pretending it’s all OK when it isn’t. Tonight, my husband will be sleeping somewhere else. I’ve said I want a month’s separation right now, but I’m offering no guarantees that at the end of the month we will go back to living under the same roof. I need a month of running my own house with honesty and being generally stable, at least as far as it is in human control to be, and not walking on eggshells or waiting for the other shoe to drop. I need him to open his eyes, if he will, to the destructiveness of being a liar, even if the outright physical abuse has stopped. I need a man to be honest. But if I am honest, at this point, it’s gone so far I don’t know what’s recoverable.
    We will tell the kids this afternoon. That part makes me sick. Please pray for them, my girls. Please pray that this doesn’t hurt them more than they’re already hurt. It seems there’s no way around causing them pain and more pain.

    • Fellow Survivor

      Repol, my heart goes out to you.

    • Penny

      Repol–I too will be praying. For what’s it’s worth: my heart tells me your girls already know. They know. Telling the truth sheds light; it always does. And the light is better than the dark–I will pray for His light to light the darkness for your girls and for you.

  16. HDG

    Repol. Heartbreaking to go and heartbreaking to stay.I too remember saying “it’s OK ” when he hurt me and asked what was “bothering” me.If you’re like me the love doesn’t just stop,but you know the relationship is not right or there wouldn’t be so much pain.I’m still in love with the ‘good guy ‘ public image. It made breaking up even harder but I couldn’t sustain a partnership that never really existed. It must really hard to make decisions when there are children involved.Knowing their hurt is caused by adult problems that they may not or cannot understand must be even tougher.My heart goes out to you! I pray for God’s will in this situation and remember His unending love is there for you always. Hugs & prayers

    • Repol

      Thank you all. He is gone. It was tearful and difficult up to the threshold, and then he left and didn’t look back. You know what? I wanted him to look back. I watched him go.

      My older girls are doing well. They seem to understand, really they do. They aren’t blaming me, and one even said she thought it was tough love, and she said sometimes she responds to tough love, so maybe he will too. My baby is doing OK too. But the third one is having a very hard time. Thank you for your prayers. No one in our community knows yet. I don’t know when I will tell anyone, except maybe my pastor or one elder after church tomorrow. I don’t know yet.

      Penny, in a way, I feel a sort of relief from the light shining into the darkness. The way my older girls responded suggests you are right that they already know.

      Thank you all. Fellow Survivor, Penny, Unforsaken, HDG. I’m so thankful for your support and prayers and kindness and love. This is not how we wanted it to be.

      • Fellow Survivor

        Repol, for what it is worth, I took my daughter to counseling when this all broke lose in our lives. The counselor asked her directly, ” so how long do you think your mom and dad have been this far apart?” She said ” oh, about 2 years” That separation under one roof happened about 3 years ago when she flat out told me a giant lie. I called her on the lie and she was pretty much like, ” so what, what are you going to do about it?”

        Its those damn lies that really kill a a relationship. It doesn’t matter if its between husband and wife, parent and child, co-workers, friends. The lie kills the relationship

      • HDG

        Whatever the future holds for you and your children please keep praying (my first suggestion of course)then come back here and know you are not alone in what you are dealing with. Pastor Dave’s posts and people who both share and care will be here for you when you need them.

  17. Penny

    Repol–as hard as this is, be prepared that if no one yet knows, then he will tell others in a way that makes you the bad guy and him the victim. So if you are able to, it may help you to be pro-active rather than re-active. Sort of like a pre-emptive strike. Expect to be disbelieved, and be prepared with some “scripts” that are short but powerful, and teach them to your girls, too. The is a good time to teach them simple responses (empower them!) to the intrusive questions of others. God is “Jehovah-Jireh”, Provider & Protector. That might be a good one to start with, b/c your husband clearly was not a “provider-protector”. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.
    Hugs and love to you all~Penny

  18. UnForsaken

    Repol, still praying for you and the peace of your little one(s). Penny is right about being pro-active, but don’t feel guilty if he gets there first. He will want to feel he wins in some way, and you can’t totally prevent his lies. Keep looking Up!!! I imagine you held in the arms of the Almighty…as you truly are!

    • Penny

      Totally agree!!

      • I really liked Dave’s quote of the Proverb that a curse will not stick to a righteous person. Hold your head high and keep your dignity and don’t stoop to his level. God will not let you remain friendless even if this experience leads to you being abandoned by your faith community. It simply means He is calling you into a different faith community to help you heal more effectively. Hugs, sweetie.

  19. Repol

    Thank you, PK.
    I admit: Today I am frightened.
    The girls and I had a good day yesterday. We got to church on time, and the drive in the car was joyfilled and relaxed and we talked and laughed with each other. Sunday school and worship were good. The sermon seemed to have a lot of application for me, about trusting God even with things like relationships, kids, your future, when you can’t see where it’s all going. I felt encouraged.
    My husband went to a different church–a church plant of our church–so we were free all through the morning. After worship, I found the elder who has most been in contact with us and told him about the weekend, the decision, the lying, the new debt, and how the lying affects me. He listened patiently and with obvious sympathy, but alone he can do little more than that. He will take the account of what happened to the pastor and two others, and he said they will probably want to meet with us all together again soon.
    And immediately, I start to lose my confidence.
    I am not a bold leader. I have some leadership qualities, but they are more for administrating and organizing a team of people who are already on board for the same goal. I’m more of an encourager and a strategic planner than I am one who can stand up and make demands or lay down the law or insist on a change of course. By nature, I am more willing to submit to authority, for the sake of peace, than I am to resist it, and so to tell an authority figure about a decision I felt peace about just moments earlier, and have him suggest (and not wrongly so) that there will be evaluatation and most likely an authoritative suggestion or direction to change course, immediately kicks in for me the second-guessing: I must have been wrong again, God. I must not really have the Holy Spirit. I must need someone else to tell me who you are and what you want. And then the death spiral starts: maybe I’m not a daughter after all; maybe I am a vessel of wrath; maybe God really doesn’t have anything good for me.

    I am such a textbook picture of a broken and abused woman! I can’t hold on to what my head knows for more than a moment. I am designed for abuse and oppression. I know, if they tell me to take him back, I will take him back. It’s who I am. Pray for me! Pray for my girls!

    • UnForsaken

      Repol, I do get your feelings . But Thank God they are NOT true. You know that, and are still brave enough to share! You are designed for His love , God is Always working for your good, and He is strongest at your weakest . Still praying…esp. that you won’t second guess yourself on this. God is there for you as much as for any spiritual leader, because He is Your High Priest. Also praying for your elder, because he is very mortal and may not yet have the whole picture – or can suffer from a mind block.
      I have a horrible memory and have trouble putting anything I believe into undertandable words. But, although these flaws make me feel like panicing, every time He has carried me through by just HOLDING HARD to HIM. It doesn’t matter if your head can hold on to it. He will. And He also holds you In His large, fatherly hands. He will never drop you. God Bless!

    • Repol,

      We are all praying for you and your girls. This is very hard, but know that Jesus is with you. No one can tell you what to do besides Jesus and no one knows what He is saying to you but you. Trust His leading. If He wants you to turn back, He will make that clear and He won’t use your husband or the church leaders to tell you.

      I know that pastors are often tempted to try to bring the word of God to struggling people, but they can only bring what the Scriptures say. Their own opinions are only as valuable as the opinions of anyone and less valuable than your own. Honestly, your pastors have shown that they are compromised by their legalism.

      You are not bound to any meeting where they will tell you what to do. You don’t even have to attend. In fact, I would normally suggest that you not attend anything where you are uncomfortable or where people will gang up on you. Just because they think they have the authority to tell you what to do does not make them right.

      Do you have anyone who supports you nearby? Family, friend, counselor? If you feel you must attend some meeting with the pastor, take that person along. Especially if the pastor will be on your husband’s side. Also, if they begin to push, you can reveal all the secrets. You might ask your husband if he is ready for you to do that. You do have some power.

      Please keep in touch here. We do care and we are praying. It’s hard to know how to help.

      -Dave

      • Repol

        Pastor Dave, I have no family here.
        I have one local friend who knows but I can’t ask her to go with me, and I don’t think she would anyway.
        I am going because I do believe in transparency about this now, at this point. I’ve lived behind the mask and under the idol of outward appearances too long. My current pastor and this elder have shown themselves to be kind, and I do believe that they want marriages to be healed, but won’t make the same demands as my former church did. But my husband is very persuasive; he cries easily and well in public; he can bring on my sympathy for him readily and I’m the one he hurt–so he can bring on others’ sympathy quite easily too. Everyone sees him as a poor, sensitive, downtrodden, bumbling fool–Life’s beaten him down so he keeps making bad choices, but at heart, they believe he’s really a good, good guy who just can’t get the break he needs to get things right.
        I know now, after Friday, that he really does know the difference between right and wrong. For a long, long time, I kept considering that maybe he really can’t tell–can’t tell that he’s lying, has some pathology that warps his view with sickness. But that’s not the case. He knows what he is doing. He proved it Friday. He has a written list of offenses against me that he has committed and not repented of, not admitted to me, let me think or tried to make me thing I was mistaken about. He is keeping a list! It’s like a trophy case of the times he “got away with it.”
        He said that one day, when he’s ready, he will admit to those things and repent, but he’s not there yet. So every day, the sun goes down on the lies and injuries between us. Every day, he knows that he has caused the rift in our relationship, but he’s just keeping an account for later, when he feels like repenting.
        And all this time, he’s still been taking communion, right next to me, with the full knowledge that these issues stand between us.

        And I feel dirty for the falsehood of all that. I want to scrub away all the lies and pretending that feel stuck to me right now. All the fakeness, all the guilt I’ve born for not maintaining affection and intimacy with him, all the up and down wondering whether I’m crazy, wondering why I can’t just shut up and trust him, wondering whether he’s really mentally sick and needs my compassion and perseverance of my wedding vows. And all that turmoil for me, he knew all along that he was stringing me up with all these sins and trials. He’s been keeping a list.

      • Repol,

        I am so sorry that you have to go through all of this. Your pain must be excruciating. This is the first opportunity I have had to respond, but I have to say that the “list” blows me away. He will repent when he feels like it, huh? Wow!

        I am puzzled at pastors and elders who think they can give deadlines and ultimatums to those who are struggling in their marriages. I am shocked at pastors who will not require anything of the husband or accept the concerns of the wife. I am disgusted by pastors who will use the desire of a godly wife for peace and love against her.

        At the same time, I am not surprised at your anger with God. Neither is He. Nor is He particularly bothered. He just loves you. He’s big enough to handle your anger and disappointment. You don’t have to believe anything right now. He will carry you through.

        Please know that you have a lot of support here and that we are truly praying for you. You do not have to welcome him back just because the pastor says so. You don’t have to do anything. We will be crying out to the Lord for wisdom and strength for you. You will have everything you need to do whatever you need to do. I hope you will look to Jesus, but if you can’t right now, that’s okay. He is still with you and still leading you. I will trust in Him for you.

        I will also be praying for your counseling session. Please feel free to invite them to contact me if that would be of any help.

        As far as the requirements Jesus has for you as a wife, read my article on submission again. You have the right to protect yourself from abuse and separate from an abusing husband. You have the right to be healthy again. In fact, for your kids, you have the responsibility to do so. Don’t think that the pastor or your husband can tell you the will of God for you. Only Jesus can do that and He is far more concerned with your health and peace than with your “wifely duties.” Let your husband struggle apart from you if he insists on hurting you.

        Well, just know that we care and hear us when we say that Jesus does love you. You will get through this.

  20. HDG

    The part of your post about the’ second guessing’ and the ‘broken and abused woman ‘brought tears to my eyes . I totally relate- I still waiver on the brink of relapse at times. Of course you and your girls are in my prayers!! Please remember have been under the influence of a narcissist. It might help strengthen you to re-read what they do,how they think,how persuasive they can be and how those who don’t live with them can be fooled by their public image. A hug and prayers for you……

  21. Repol

    Meeting tomorrow with the pastor, an elder, and my husband. Meeting Friday morning with a bankruptcy attorney.
    God is an ever-present help in time of trouble. Even now.
    Tonight I am wondering how it is that I am to experience God as a refuge when passing through what seems like a type of hell. But even this isn’t as bad as it was at times in our marriage, when I was so optimistic and trying so hard and only ever being rejected (at best) and roughed up and verbally assaulted/condemned (at worst).
    God has delivered me from abuse into uncertainty and destitution. He will show himself as refuge, right?
    I am concentrating on being still and waiting to see how he shows that he, not I, not my husband, not even my pastor and elder, is God. He alone is God. And he is my God.

    • HDG

      You are facing some very rough times. GOD IS WITH YOU. If you are rejected(as I have been)by those around you for telling the truth GOD IS WITH YOU.Praying for you.

    • Penny

      Repol–my BFF is going thru something similar with her dear daughter, who married a N, & is now separated & divorcing. But here is the chilling truth: her precious daughter (who reminds me of you) is a Godly woman who had kept a diary as a young woman, in which she described in detail the kind of man she wanted in a husband. Her soon-to-be-divorced ex has now admitted that he found & read her diary while they were dating, & proceeded to PRETEND to be exactly what she described in her diary. He now admits to the “false image” (that Dave has so warned us about) that he carefully crafted according to the desire of her heart, as revealed in her private diary. If that isn’t the behavior of a predator, then knock me over with a feather. Predators know EXACTLY what they are doing—so, dear one, please give yourself a break & accept the grace that God is NOT a predator, but is your Protector. Listen to Him, not the voices of those who do not know the truth. You are right to trust in God alone. Praying….

      • Repol

        But is her counsel hearing his admissions and calling that repentance, and therefore she must not divorce but stay with him?

        Remind me…remind me how God is and who I am to him.
        They want me to promise to take him back in one month from today, that he will move back in in one month. Between now and then, I am supposed to pray. (I did not want to rule the conversation, but I wanted to say: Do you want to see my prayer journals? Do you think I don’t pray? I pray an hour most mornings. I have begged and begged God to show me what to do, to stay, to leave, to protect myself, to sacrifice myself for this man who may never change. It seemed to me there was a slight suggestion that I had entered into this separation without prayer. It is true that as the new lies were being revealed, and an old one confirmed, I didn’t break away to pray before telling him I wanted a separation. But I knew about the old lie, and I had had warning signs that he was covering more, and I had been praying all along, knowing this past weekend was very likely going to be the point of decision making, and it was. I am to make a new list of things he must vow to: a do’s and don’ts list to add to the list of physical abuse actions from the past that he can’t do. And I am to make a family budget and begin looking with him for someone to give us counsel about our spending. )
        It’s a checklist for relationship. Guys… it’s what we do when we can’t have a relationship with someone. We make a list of behaviors and we follow a formula.

        I am dying again. I am dying inside again. There will never be any freedom for me in this life. And I was reminded that my responsibility and relationship to my children does not override my primary relationship to my “husband,” no matter what he’s done to me in the past or the present, no matter how many issues he won’t grow into without a list and an overseer to conform him to right actions. My children are little still and they will eventually leave me/us, it’s true. I want them to. I want them to grow up into the lives God has for them. But right now, they exist, and they need a grownup who can care for them, and I need to be alive and mentally stable and wise with our resources to do that. But it sounded like they were saying too that my mental stability might have to be sacrificed to save this man if that’s the way it has to go, because he is my primary relationship after God himself, except that even in that, somehow since God ordained this marriage, then God might sort of step aside for me to continue to be drained by this guy while they try to conform his behavior.

        I don’t know. It doesn’t completely make sense. I don’t want to be divorced because I don’t want to be divorced. But I don’t want to be married either to the person who terrorized me, raped me, emotionally abandoned me, stole from me our resources and my identity, and then even put his own self-worship over the well-being of his own children. I don’t want to be married to that man. I think I will go crazy again if they say I have to be intimate with him again, but what is a marriage without intimacy? It’s all just wrong. They say they are hearing me. They say they will listen to me. They even said that there are boundaries a woman is allowed to have and a man can’t cross them. But they can’t hear what they don’t know. The twisted way he thinks, the way he always says what everyone wants to hear. He didn’t repent. He did admit, now that there’s proof, that he is still lying to me, but he didn’t say that he would stop or that he’s sorry for the pattern he keeps. He said he doesn’t understand why he does it and he hopes his doctor will be able to tell him soon. ???

        I want to die. If I didn’t have these children, I would take my chances with that. God is either merciful and would forgive me for that or he isn’t and in that case I have no hope anyway so why hang on? I am not a person. Why do I owe anyone the continuation in this marriage? Why? What is it about this one legal agreement (because it never has been a real, loving relationship; we aren’t trying to save a marriage–we are just trying to pretend there’s something to work with here to mold into a set of behaviors that looks like a marriage from the outside) that is so important to keep on file intact? There is no love here. There’s just a set of rules to follow.

  22. UnForsaken

    Repol, remember your elder does not Have to believe you as a result of the meeting…it may even feel things have changed for the worse. But, Your confidence is In Christ, and the things seeming to be depressing now, may show themselves to be His blessings later.
    No matter what happens, praying you will walk away in His Peace.
    Hugs!

    • Penny

      Repol–a sure sign of bad counsel is evidenced by wanting to die! THAT is of the enemy, and NOT of God. I know b/c I have been there, sister. God is the Author of peace, not confusion. I will go out on a limb here and say that you have been given very bad counsel, even dangerous counsel. What chapter/verse says “wait a month” and demands promises from the abused but not the abuser? This is classic “enabling”, and places the entire burden on YOU while requiring nothing from your husband. That alone is un-Biblical, and you have been victimized again by misguided zealots. His admissions are not repentance, and his behavior is grievous, not yours. It seems the “whole counsel of God” has been set aside for narrow-minded interpretations. We are told repeatedly in scripture to flee evil, to turn away from the wicked, to seek light and not darkness. 2Cor 6:14 “Do not become partners with those who do not believe, for what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship does light have with darkness? And what agreement does Christ have with Beliar?” Do NOT go back to these men for counsel, Repol, as they have proven themselves to be ignorant of wisdom, and in the darkness of evil. Flee evil.

  23. HDG

    Repol: I am praying for you!!! Your last post was sad and frightening. Even before you went to your ‘meeting’ you had an idea of what might happen. A narcissistic relationship kills from the inside out!! I hurt for you and your children. Please keep us informed how you are doing-we care. PRAYING FOR GOD’S PROTECTION.

  24. Repol

    I don’t know who Jesus is anymore. I don’t know who God is.
    His wrath is satisfied against me? It certainly doesn’t seem that way.
    I thought I was finding him again, after so many years of darkness. I thought he did want me to flee from darkness, but God established institutions too. He established the church and I promised to submit myself to its authority. He established marriage, and I chose to enter into it. Do the false pretenses matter? There’s only one explicit allowance for divorce and that is adultery. There’s no evidence at all that my husband has ever committed adultery in the typical sense. Yes, he’s used pornography. Yes, he has wanted to re-enact pornographic things with me that were de-humanizing to me (and I happened to have believed that the de-humanization was at the heart of the law against adultery and the extrapolation against lusting; but I’m told that understanding smacks of me claiming ‘special revelation’). But nothing he has done is grounds for divorce in a strict biblical interpretation.

    God didn’t say enough in his word to guide us in this. Why didn’t he say more? So, my husband’s prayers might be hindered. So what. He hardly prays anyway. Just habitual, rote stuff to check prayer off the list. I can’t help but think that God loves him more than he loves me and the children. All that seems to matter is that he eventually start doing stuff right. And isn’t that what Paul was telling me/wives: Who knows? Maybe your husband will be saved by you.

    I am in a crisis of faith. I never thought I would ever lose my faith in the God I thought I knew, but there’s just no evidence that I can see here and now anymore. I know there’s history. He did miracles in Egypt. Jesus came in. Jesus rose from the dead. I think I still believe those things historically. But do I believe right now in a personal relationship with a living, loving God? No, I can’t say that I do. He is impersonal. He is rules again. And he is mean and merciless.

    There was not one time in our conversation last night that the word “love” was mentioned.

    • Penny

      You are angry–good for you!! You SHOULD be angry at what you have gone thru and what you are going thru. Jesus was angry, too in Matthew 11:20 He “began to criticize openly the cities in which He had done miracles, b/c they did not repent”. In Matthew 18, Jesus says that those who cause the humble (“little ones”) to sin would be better off drowned in the open sea. And Jesus raised the bar on adultery in Matthew 5:28 when He said that whoever even lusts for or “looks at” a woman has already committed adultery in his heart. I would say that pornography is “looking at” and “lusting after”. So, in my ever so humble opinion, that applies to your husband & I would say he HAS been unfaithful to you. All of this is to show you that Jesus cares about your heart, not a checklist. He opposed the Pharisees precisely b/c they clung to the letter of the Law and not the Spirit of the law. 2 Cor 3:6 says we have a “new covenant NOT based on the letter but on the Spirit, of the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life”. Let your righteous anger lead you to the REAL Jesus and away from this “other Jesus”. Jesus wants to embrace you in love and acceptance and freedom, not in slavery. Don’t go back to slavery, Repol-follow the Light, my sister. Reject this false gospel being shoved down you throat & your heart. Jesus came to set you free!! Jesus is big enough to handle your anger and all your frustration and He is NOT going to give you a checklist! Tell HIM, not them. Stop telling them. Don’t tell them another thing. They are not your advocate, HE is! Jesus is beside you, even now. He is. Love you, dear one…..

    • K

      Pornography IS ADULTRY! He is having an affair with an image of a woman that is NOT you. And expecting you to measure up. He is not seeing the real you in front of him. It is also a “false idol”…his mind should be on God and his real family. I believe we are to walk this life as partners with GOD as the head of our family, and us as equal partners. God made men physically stronger ONLY, and to treat their wives “like the (their) church”. We in turn should respect our husbands…and they need to earn it.
      I have been 36 years with an abuser…put some really strong boundaries down and stick to them. Do not cry, beg, lose faith or any thing else that gives this man your power as a woman or your respect as a wife.
      Use love and firmness, and stay separated as long as it takes or longer to regain yourself. This does not mean you are breaking any commandments.
      To hear God, you have to be at some peace and this man is taking that away. Do NOT let him steal your joy or peace.
      Stay separate until you can at least be friends (if this is possible) and then make good decisions without everyone elses input!
      Your daughters come first until they can fend for themselves. NOT him.
      Find some good women in your church for councel if need be, but be cautioned…if your husband is a good liar he is convincing enough to believe himself, thus will convince even you! (I know from experience).

      Being a liar also breaks most of the commandments,and I am sure God does NOT love him more than you.
      Once I decided to be the courage of my family, and stop being the victim (which I am), I started to grow stronger in my faith.

      Believe me, our Lord does NOT like what your husband is doing and is working in YOU and you don’t realize it.

      He is so loving,,,make it a pact to enjoy your children and let your husband stand on his own two feet.

      Hand your husband the ten commandments and make him study them for a while.
      I feel your pain.
      K

  25. HDG

    I am concerned for you. I typed in the words What does the Bible say about abuse?” for myself recently because my N used his interpretations of scripture & his pastor’s ‘catch phrases’against me. I am still dealing with the damage.Please check iwilltrustinyou.org You may/may not agree with what is there but it will give you something to think about. Hope this helps….

    • Repol

      I do have this angry sensation. I’m not sure exactly what or who I am angry at, though. I think I’m angry at God.

      I can’t cry any more. I’ve cried and cried and poured out my heart in prayer and written my prayers down and begged him to let me still feel love and affection for my husband even in the midst of the abuse, and now the lies and the debt–the lack of self control. He just has not self control in any area, and bringing one under accountability just redirects him to another. I’m angry that he never stops until he’s hurt me in that area as badly as he can, and that no one in authority over us will pre-empt anything either. Last summer, I asked the church for help because he was still accruing debt and I wanted bankruptcy prevention advice. I was offered the name of a CPA in the church, but to my knowledge, no one then followed up with my husband about the fact that he was still accruing debt against our verbal agreement. I was so sad and desperate then, really begging them, the church I had submitted to, to help me. But it’s outside the scope of what they can do until it all crumbles down and he and I separate. And now it’s within their scope only because they want us to get back together.

      I’m supposed to want that too. I’m supposed to want to reconcile. But based on what? Jesus said do not divorce. And because he didn’t specifically talk about anything other than adultery as a reason for divorce, in every other situation, no matter how great the harm or betrayal, no matter how ongoing the issues, if I believe, I stay. Period.

      I have a list from the pastor in hand of the points of our meeting and the requirements of each of us. And I have an appointment Tuesday evening with a husband/wife counseling team that works with a group Pastor Dave here knew of. It’s just an initial consult. At first, my pastor & the group that met with us said they weren’t requiring me to do any additional counseling or anything, but immediately after that meeting, the followup email said they were strongly recommending it. Now it has changed to a requirement in the new followup. I know I need counseling, but I’ve gotten so much bad counseling, and I don’t know if I’m ready yet to verbalize the sexual abuses, yet those and the lying really are probably the worst–the things making it hardest for me to want to reconcile. I cannot imagine having to be intimate again with the man who took my humanity away from me for so long. But Jesus says I have to? I have to, or I can’t have God? I can’t have peace unless I can give my body and my identity again to the very person who took it so wrongly before? I think I am going to die. I don’t believe the purpose of counseling is my wholeness as much as it is holding the marriage together by convincing me to submit to the requirement that no marriage separates other than from adultery. I need clarification on the purpose of the counseling.

      • Maggie

        Repol,
        I am reading the trail of your mail and the follow up. Perhaps I have missed something where it is stated that there is a good chance sexual addiction is present in your marriage. Please excuse me if that has been presented. If that were to be the case I humbly submit there can be no marriage with addiction. I could be wrong but sexual addiction is often closely linked to narcissistic personality disorder(NPD). Sadly in this kind of addiction and in the NPD person there is little to no empathy. There is a viscous ability to manipulate and appear empathetic, often as a result from having learned from the best, in most cases their spouse. The acting out of pornographic material is very typical in the sex addicts primary sexual relationship. The sex is in his head , not between the both of you as one. There is so much to be uncovered about all of this. There are few who understand the exact nature of the effects of such relating on the covenant and the the effects on the spouse and yes on the children. There are few in counsel that understand the effective boundary setting and support the victim..you in this proposed model…needs in order to even consider some form of considering reconciliation . Of course the sexual acting out is a symptom but until that is eradicated there is simply no marriage. Lastly, If there is sexual addiction in your spouse there is a very good chance it was there at the time of your vows. I do not know if that could bring some kind of peace for you in as much as he was never free to give himself to you from the start and that the awful relating that followed is not because of a damaged marriage but because there is no bond, no marriage at least on his part. One very basic truth is there can be no marriage with active addiction. I pray that I have not overstepped boundaries here. The last thing I want to do is create anymore difficulty
        for you. Please accept , in advance, my apology for anything that may be grossly off or unacceptable to you.Offered with the best intentions…

      • Penny

        Repol: YOU have a voice: a unique voice that God Himself gave to you, and only you. Use that voice to speak the truth–just tell the truth, in all it’s ugly, degrading horror. YOUR HUSBAND IS AN ADULTERER!
        Jesus already said so! Your husband has violated & betrayed you, and in so doing he has sinned against God Himself. You do NOT need his permission (or anyone else’s) to speak the truth. NO ONE who permits abuse has “authority” over you–NO ONE. Do not fear the truth; the truth is powerful! We are all called to expose evil, not protect it. Silence helps only the oppressor, never the oppressed. If your husband is so proud, so confident of his behavior then he should welcome the truth, not try to silence you! If the so-called church leaders are so “enlightened” about marriage, then they need to know that your husband has exploited them as well, making them partners in sin. Jesus has NOT and will never require you to offer yourself up to abuse merely for the perverse pleasure of others. Jesus never said to lose your identity in ANYONE. Jesus NEVER ignored the suffering of women. Jesus does NOT endorse the behavior of your husband or even these pathetic church leaders. The purpose of counseling is clarity, to reveal truth, not the hidden agendas of bystanders who pretend to know everything but know nothing.
        But please, dear sister, use your voice, your precious voice. It’s yours, a gift given from HIM, for Him and no one else. Close your eyes and speak the truth loudly, directly to Him. He can handle it, so let it rip. Jesus does not fear your voice–He welcomes it.

  26. Repol

    Maggie, I hear you, and I am not offended at all.
    There is something wrong in that area. I have found evidence of his pornographic searches on the Internet even though he tried hard to hide them, but beyond that, I know little for sure.
    Sex and violence are linked somehow with him, but intimacy is absent. The very first time he threw me around and threatened to break my ribs was just a few days into our marriage, and it was in response to me coming to him lovingly, like a bride. Trusting. Offering myself and seeking him. Something snapped. It had something to do with his control of the sexual aspect of the relationship, and he had to destroy my sense of safety and vulnerability that let me come to him myself. After that, fear was almost always involved and that was a very important thing for him. Fear and power.
    There’s more. I can’t go into much detail. There’s weird stuff that has to do with him wanting to be with his own mother. There’s stuff that has to do with me seeming male and him overpowering me.
    It was never him and me, together, like I dreamed my marriage would be.

    • Penny

      Repol–it occurred to me overnite that “marriage” is now the idol, the “thing” being worshipped. (A little while back I think you had mentioned that you realized that “church” had been your idol?) So, perhaps this may clarify for you what is going on here: the church [idol] is demanding marriage [idol] to be your Savior.

      • Repol

        One sympathetic, female Christian friend said something similar about voice, Penny. She said she could see that I don’t trust myself to be a faithful narrator of my own story. It’s true. I’m afraid I don’t really understand the big picture. I’m afraid I extrapolate too much meaning from the running thread through scripture instead of giving enough totalitarian authority to the isolated statements that seem black and white. And I am so very afraid of messing up and doing anything at all wrong. Why? Because for 19 years of my 23.5 years of being a believer, I never received grace from the human beings I was walking through this life with. I have no experience actually being the recipient of grace between people, even the people who claim the same Christ, the same Father, the same Holy Spirit to be in us. I heard God telling me he loved me and accepted me because of Jesus–but I was pretty much alone when I became a believer. It was post college; all my friends had moved away and I was living alone in the same town, working, when I picked up my Bible and decided to read it from the very beginning. I became a believer through reading scripture alone, and attending (wallflowering) at a Baptist church that was walking distance from my house. I went because I thought it was what good people, grownups, people who want to live in society did. Totally cultural. But there was this radical guy teaching the SS class I ended up in. He had been an atheist, God-hater, thief, drug user and dealer, Vietnam vet, until his conversion and he was all over this grace thing. I remember being forgiven. I remember feeling forgiven. I remember coming alive, like something inside me was really growing there, opening up and spreading out. I felt indwelling. I don’t think I imagined that. It was the realest real point of my life. And then, three years later, I began to die. Closed off in an abusive marriage, in a tightly-bound Christian community, where there was no room whatsover to mess up. No one talked about grace. Everyone talked about battling sin in others–the culture: Full of sin! The mall: full of sin! The government: Full of sin! Sin, everywhere! My “glow” of salvation and the optimism it produced in me lasted a good 10 years there, but it started to fade and shrink after that. I just couldn’t hold on alone.

        Now, I don’t understand. I don’t understand how we can have the same Holy Spirit in us and have such different interpretations of how to apply God’s one word, and the life of Jesus, and the plan of God when we look at the real issues before us. How can we disagree so deeply, and to such great detriment of individuals?

        I’m sure you are right, Penny, about the next idol in line. I do know that institutions, good ones made by God, very readily become our idols because we think we can point to them and claim obedience. The checklist. But did God ever intend loveless marriage? Marriage represents himself connected to the church, except that marriage is not unilateral. God holds together the covenant with his Bride, but in my case, I, the bride, seem to be required to unilaterally hold this together, as long as my husband is willing to say that he will do better. I just don’t know if I can get over the past. Even if he were perfect from this point forward, the past has shaped me to be someone different than I was ever meant to be, I think. I know God is sovereign over that too, and I’ve been begging him to make me able to forgive and heal and love again if that’s what he wants. I don’t think I’m being obstinate and refusing to do what he wants. I think, however, that maybe the consequences are not just for me, but also for my husband. If he didn’t destroy me and lose me, he may never repent. What if, to keep peace and to save him, he has to be cut off from me, his supply? Is there a parallel to excommunication here? I know it can’t be a direct parallel in all points, but maybe there’s something to that?

  27. UnForsaken

    Repol , my last reply was not meant for your post that day…..but for an earlier one, before your meeting. My apologies…because that is not what I would have said knowing what you are going through now!
    Please take pause and think about this: God speaks to each of us as believers, and these men have been drowning out His voice . Even your prayers are a reflection of what they want to see in you. From sad experience, I’ve always felt God silent when I believed the “godly” people beside me as somehow knowing better. The Truth is , they were shouting Him down. What happed to common sense? God created it for our use, and they are not using theirs. You are sounding confused, but I believe you have this common sense, and are being told now by their actions that it is ungodly, against scripture. Please, stop listening to them and do what common sense tells you now. Over the roar of their voices, it may be exactly the way God is trying to reach you. Pray for His guidance, then do what you already know is for your best. That is what He wants – your best.
    These people sound very much like some I have known and they only will destroy you – even if they have good intentions. The responsisble thing to do for your space/ thought, might be to cut of Any contact with them and seek help from people who Really have your wellfair at heart. Please really consider this? You need boundaries from any people who enable users.
    Think of it this way . What if this was happening to your sister. Your best friend….imaging one that has shown you more grace than these people. Your most loving grandparent. Just imagine all these things happening to them. What would you tell Them to DO? You would be there for them AND, now fill in the blank. I think you will find God giving you some ideas ,but be sure not to avoid them because you don’t think your good enough. YOU ARE in His sight!!!
    Please listen to what He has taught your common sense, and forget what these twisted, lying people have said Scripture means. They are wrong. Even if well meaning ,there are other people – including yourself – who are much wiser. Get space from them and Protect yourself as if you are one of your own little ones. God wants to do this For you, and He is going to do it Through you.
    Blessings and many prayers. I hope my meaning is clear. Wishing I could be there now with you to show you how special you are. His arms are around you even if you don’t feel them ’til this is over. The body’s way of dealing with too many things to take in, is to go into a kind of shock, the numbness you’re having right now dried up from tears. HOLD ON. And while praying for more Wisdom, trust that He Has and will give it to you in your own common sense. Just do it. Forget what they say.
    A Really BIG HUG!!!!!

  28. If, as scripture indicates, husbands are to be the spiritual leaders of their wives and family. And if the husband is a true narcissist and is incapable of intimacy, that would be a clear indication, that they are incapable of having an intimate conversation with the Almighty. That being said, they are surely incapable of leading a wife or family from the Lord’s leading, the Lord’s heart or the Lord’s directives. So how could anyone in that family submit to Narcissism?? They can’t.

  29. Repol

    Fearful today. I’m so easy to manipulate.
    He posted a link to an article written by a man claiming to be a repentant abuser. It sounded a lot like us, only without mention of any physical violence between that man and his wife. I saw his post and followed over to read it myself. In the comments, he is confessing that he has abused me, but wants God to give ME a heart to trust and move forward. The heart I had for years and years. He doesn’t say a heart to forgive his hurt of me. He doesn’t say a heart of his own to really repent. He just wants God to make me trust him and move forward.
    The writer wants to help, so he gave him a site to visit to get tips on winning me back. Now I’m afraid. He’s just adding to his arsenal of “all the right things to do and say,” to keep convincing others in authority (and probably me too) that he really has had a change of heart. I don’t believe it. I believe he’s looking for more tools. I believe he still thinks I am the problem–the problem isn’t that he is not trustworthy; it’s that I have chosen not to trust. The problem isn’t that he devastated our marriage. It’s that I’ve decided I don’t want to move forward.
    I’m so anxious. Everything is twisted.

    • UnForsaken

      Repol, keep up not being convinced. You are absolutely right about his heart. His thinking has been warped too long to see truth for what it is that Fast.
      Keep looking up…..I can almost hear God guiding you as you share!
      It’s O.K. to be deeply concerned about his next move, just know God has a better plan for You. You don’t have to be taken in, and even if you don’t see it coming , there will be another day and you Will get up!

    • Joy

      I am praying for you and wondering how you are doing now. You are right to suspect he is perfect his act about what to do and say. My ex did that and is STILL doing it…it’s all about that image. When I continually agonized over leaving someone who never cheated on me, my psychologist (a christian) had me read the marriage vows. Then she asked me how many he broke….which was all but adultery…and not just once or twice, but he broke those vows as a way of life, as a way to make me small and lose my mind and my worth. And I now believe he actually did cheat on me…with himself…in his mind he was the only person of worth in the relationship. He loves himself but not me. He only loves me in whatever way I perform as an appropriate prop to him. My counselor impressed on me what a duty I had to treat myself as a child of God….to not let myself be mentally and emotionally beat up and lied to.

      I did finally get divorced even though divorce goes against every atom in me…but I knew I was going to die (at least inside) if I stayed. I was so nearly there already. I WISH the bible had said more about the reasons for divorce, but the Bible did say that we are supposed to love each other…and to treat each other the way we’d like to be treated. He is treating you in a way that is akin to a physical beating, but worse it is a beating of your mind.

      There were people in my church and community who thought I’d lost my mind to leave such a wonderful person (he still walks around perfecting that image), but only I knew how it really was. It is very hard to do the right thing sometimes. I knew in my heart the right thing was to no longer allow myself (a child of God) to be abused, but it is HARD when others do not know. I still did it. Three years later I am still dealing with some of the issues, but my life is more peaceful and I feel I did what the Holy Spirit was leading me to do. There is no greater peace than that.

      • UnForsaken

        Joy, beautiffully expressed! It’s one of the hardest things to do, yet there truly is no greater peace than in not understanding but still following what we know God wants.

  30. sarah

    I left my npd inflicted husband after 25 years of financial emotional and mental abuse. he sold our family and took and still was using me to live off in the rental property. he was conniving calculating and a pathological liar. after walking from this façade of a marriage in name only, I found out he had two children with his mistress of the last ten years. If i hadn’t walked i wouldn’t have known cos he shacked up with her the day moved out from my rental property as he didn’t want to move.
    . since I walked out June 2013,i too have plagued with pain hurt and asking why didn’t i see it why was I so naïve trusting , so gullible
    then I read all yr comments and realised , im not going to talk about him to anyone cos il live in that nightmare forever,isst
    I don’t want to keep talking abt him in ten years or even more
    that means he is still destroying me from afar.
    what is done is done
    and we stayed there for our own reasons
    culture, children, family, financial .emotional, love
    so be it
    if we build our lives from here in today, and be at peace and let him/her go out of our lives , that’ll affect them more cos then they know they are dirt and dont exist for us.
    cos as NPD, they want praise adulation and more praise which the new partner gives them.
    don’t show hatred nor anger so they don’t live in your heart soul and mind and don’t destroy you further or forever
    Life is not a trial run, we don’t know when our calling to God will be….
    Live yout life
    immerse yourself in something new..study..hobby..go travelling in a tour group…meet new people.
    Promise yrself to live in the moment…cos tomorrow may never come
    Your children, friends and family and you are missing out on a beautiful person….which is YOU
    Find yourself
    let them go….they are evil …you don’t want to carry memory of an evil toxic person…it’ll poison you….promise yrself….
    BE THAT BEAUTIFUL PERSON…..let them see what they have lost(they changed you ….bring your self back)

  31. My heart is broken…it blew up 8 weeks ago today. I need help. I still am so devastated…his narcissism and his sexual addiction finally destroyed us. Everyone wants me to shut it down and move forward…look to the future. Our 48th wedding anniversary is in 3 weeks. I have filed for divorce… I gave him my whole life, but I never was enough. What is wrong with me??? I feel like I may be the one who is the sickest. He says he’s moving on!!

    • UnForsaken

      Bonnie, it’s common to all of us to feel like the sick one when that is their flaw . There Is NOTHING Wrong With You !!! You can still feel for him and yet create a new life. He tried to be the center of your life like a god, but now you have the opportunity to Choose. Friends often expect us to be ready to move on in our hearts when there is still a lot of healing to do, discoveries to make about ourselves, time to spend with God to begin to know what direction to take. You’ve taken the right initial steps to grow and protect yourself, so take your time on the rest of it, as much as you need. He Would brag about moving on – like that is such a good thing! Really, it shows a shallow heart to rush “forward” and blaim others for the past.

      I will be praying for you. Nobody can just skip a hard time, but YOU Will make it! Your future starts in the little healing things you do for yourself right now. You can glue the glass of your heart back together, but the pieces have to be picked up and polished first.

      Remember, it’s O.K. to grieve, it’s more than O.K. to cry. You are a very special person, Bonnie. ((HUGS)) 🙂

    • Joy

      Bonnie, I could have written what you just wrote…” I gave him my whole life, but I never was enough. What is wrong with me??? I feel like I may be the one who is the sickest..” It is a trick of the narcissist to make it all our fault. In my 30 year marriage, everything was my fault..and that is no exaggeration, as much as it sounds like one. But really, common sense, when you are away from the narcissist enough to listen to it, tells you that it’s impossible for everything to be your fault. It’s not what is wrong with you, but what is wrong with him, that he is never satisfied and and happy and feeling blessed with a spouse who is trying to love and please him. It’s a trick they use, a tool, to make us feel as if we are the crazy one.

      I still pray for my ex husband. I still love him in a way, but from a distance..because loving him from close leads to him hurting me, and I can’t allow it anymore. Grieve and cry and be angry even, but eventually move on from blaming yourself. Don’t let his trick on you work.

  32. Bonnie

    Unforsaken..I am crying… Thank you for your healing message and words… It so helped me… I went tonight with friends for a birthday dinner…they lifted me up. “Discovery” keeps coming…today was another bomb…didn’t even seek it…it keeps rolling forward and into my lap. I want the hurricane to stop… Help me pray…

    • UnForsaken

      Amen to that, HDG!

      I have learned a lot about myself and Ns through Pastor Dave’s articles, but this is also a safe place to heal where we try to support each other. Welcome !

      Bonnie, I’m SO glad to know you have friends nearby and that they have encouraged you. You were in my prayers all day yesterday, and will continue to be!

  33. HDG

    Bonnie, Keep reading the stories here it will help you see and deal with the truth. You will see so much of the same thing over and over. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We’ve all been bombarded with the N’s evil behavior-lies,manipulation,isolation,control,character assassination and in some cases physical abuse.MOST OF ALL KEEP PRAYING. Hugs and prayers for you..

  34. Penny

    Amen! And amen and amen and amen. You are safe here, you belong to Christ and no other, and you are safe. Amen.

  35. Kaya

    I just divorced my ex husband of 20 years. It was a nightmare. When he was caught cheating with a young cop deputy co worker, everything blew up. He left the family, tried to declare me mentally ill, tried to obtain an injunction against me, changed all bank accounts. I finally had enough. I hired the best , most aggressive criminal/family attorney and filed for divorce. I initiated no contact and stopped all communication. I turned of all emotions and made it a business deal. Well one year later, I came out the winner in the divorce. I was awarded permanent alimony and half of his army retirement. Divorcing this evil monster was the best decision I ever made. He lost it all. His family , his home, his money , his integrity. He was and is a liar and cheater. She can have him. She saved my life. Thank you little co worker for giving me my peace and sanity. I owe you. He will cheat on you because he cheated with you. You now are the receiver of his abuse and anger outbursts. You took my place and forever I am thankful for that. Hd is a coward and a loser and my son and I want nothing to do with him. Ever again. 15 months of no contact and counting. “If you ignore the devil he will flee”. Thank God this nightmare is over. I have my life back. This marriage was an illusion. A narcisisst cannot love anyone. Too bad it took me more than 20 years to realize that.

  36. Ann

    Has anyone heard from Repol? I was praying for her and worried about her. She re-wrote my life story and I kind of understand the state of confusion she must have gone through. Between the desire to obey the Lord and the church beating you down with scripture for an experience none has gone through nor will understand, are tears from within. Tears that are dry and no longer drip for that tear well is empty, and all you have is a sigh and lamp in your throat.
    I am still leaving separate from my N husband, its been 9 months now, church family waiting for me to go back to a dark place that made me want to die ( a state of confusion, not understanding whats wrong with me, why am this way, why however hard I try, its never good enough, sex feels like rape, loneliness, fatigue, stress, lack of sleep, headaches, pleasing an empty wall, filling a hollow pot, caring and living in submission yet the love inside you died 1000 years, and worst of all wearing a smile for the world).
    Just last week, I wanted to run away, leave my job and everything and hide in another continent, as far away as I can go from all the confusion and expectation of church, friends and family. Yet, I have to stay and face the fire, is this where healing comes from? Do I have to go back in the dungeon in order to live in obedience to the word? Has anyone returned to that state just when they thought they were beginning to breathe again?
    Husband won’t go for counselling as he sees nothing wrong with what he did and plays the game: I divorce you, I divorce you not, come back and we work it out as friends, but there will be sex involved. Now that is disgusting right there, at 41 years, I hate anything to do with that.

    • Remedy

      Ann…are you still keeping on the website? Wondering if you’ve been able to make any changes? Your testimony resonates closely with my situation.

  37. maria

    What makes this so hard for me is that he has alienated me from my children. All those yrs running our business every nite He was smearing me behind my bk telling my kids that I was crazy, a drunk addict, that everything belonged to him. Presently my children don’t seem to care if I am dead or alive. We have been seperated for 7 yrs but still did everything as a family. But he was just getting worse n worse degrading n belittling me. I financially put in just as much if not more at times but behind my bk he to everything. I have nothing. I do not have the money for divorce lawyer. For the first 11 yrs he never was part of the business That 3 yrs ago he discarded me in front of all my customers n a girl he had come down to fill in for me saying I was in rehab which was a lie. He had told me to take off that nite to get some rest. My customers called me n sd he has a girl working for Mr. I ran down n he start screaming saying this is his bar..called me a she. Sd to other girl u r staying..she is leaving.. the girl that is a co worker of his at his job looked at me n sd I’m sorry n left. He ran out after her but she wanted nothing to do with him. We actually were going to Florida as a family vacation 2 days later n he begged me to go. So did my kids n that is y I want. Since than he has been on a smear campaign at our business letting employees disrespect me n not listen to me. It is my only income. He has destroyed the business which is a bar letting these sd employees drink, STEAL, sell drugs etc. He has them drop money in safe after every transaction. He comes down n takes every penny. He has locked me out of office. Everyone adores him n I am the bad guy. I only work 2 nites n he takes all the liquors on my nites so I can’t serve customers. I WORKED under table for 14 yrs because he sd it led be to much in taxes so I can’t even get a loan. We both pd equally for the house but at the time he was on welfare n I WORKED under table. We recd 40,000 each from accident. So we put it in his sister’s name. That was no in 89.. all bills were in my name but gas. I recently found out no in 1999 he n his sister behind my back change the name of the deed for a 1.00. I trusted him with my entire being handed over everything I ever worked for. He to it all. As of July he tld me go on welfare n dropped me from health ins n everything else that I also pd for. I always made tons of money but did So not on his per his request. But he was. To search me It looks like I never worked or purchased anything when I WORKED so hard. We have 4 children together. 30 yrs together. Now my gas is being turned off. I am being evicted n my children don’t care, He buys them anything. They believe him but no there is something wrong with him. All he does is pay young bookers that is his life. I can’t move on because I can’t work due to physical illness from all this stress. I m a gd caring, compassionate person but I just can’t take it anymore. I live in Philly n called woman against abuse n they sd I m not being abused cause he does not hit me. This is a disgrace, it makes me sick in the stomach how this can be permitted. All I nd is 3500 to end this nitemare. My divorce attorney sd that I am entitled to half. I laugh n think Damn right I put half plus raised my kids, ran a household n a business. I never go anywhere n I m stuck in depression. No medical to go to Dr. No insurance to go to dentist. I am falling apart n there is no financial support in Philly for woman like me who gave their entire lives to a man who to it all. I WILL die fighting n keeping my feet in our business but I m just warn out cause not 1 child is there for me. Any advice..Ty for listening. God Bless.

    • Priscilla

      I feel so sad for you, Maria. I hear you! I wish there are more I could do. Speaking it out help us heal. Take care!

  38. gpsgracepowerstrength

    Found this via Cogbitive Dissonance
    Narcissistic Abuse. Excellent post that accurately relays the necessity of taking your time to heal. I agree no contact is so necessary. Also self care; exercise, therapy, eating right and renting plenty of good movies to get your mind off things. It takes time to recover from such horrific abuse and that is perfectly okay; it will be steps forward, backward & forward again but eventually you will look back realize you not only survived but thrived.

  39. Thank you all for your posts.

  40. I have just been rejected by someone I think was a narcissist. I find that moving on from this 8 and half year relationship is really hard. As I educate myself on the Narcissistic behaviors….I find too that I might have been a victim. She poured on the love and charm for at least five to six months in the beginning of our relationship. We got married too and that was the beginning of the end. She asked me to marry her so many times and gay marriage was not even legal, but starting to become that way. We opted for a domestic partnership….again at her pleading under the guise that my mother would never let her in the hospital room if i were sick. So, i went ahead and did it….then she pressured for marriage. I can’t lie, all of this felt so much like we were meant to be together, I was trying to take it slow but she was moving forward so fast at times it felt like I was being lead to slaughter…but I loved all of the attention. At two years she also wanted to have a baby…..saying that I was the only one she would have one with…this too made me feel special. I went along with that too. As i gave in more and more to her desires and interests….I lost myself. She made me feel loved and protected by her constant need to know where I was and how I was doing. We moved in with each other after only knowing each other for 5 months. As I might have said, when I started to give and become stable and committed to our partnership…I felt her eyeing other sources of interest….not so much sexually, but in an amusement way. I am codependent….and this didn’t help. She always would point to me for needing therapy…due to what she thought was internalized homophobia. I was raised a Christian…..she claims that there is no God. We were unequally yoked to begin with…but her charm and keen focus on me in the beginning melted away my loneliness. She seemed like she could protect me from myself. I bought that and more form her. As our relationship grew….she took the reins and I took the backseat….I went to therapy, I got sober and got healthy, as healthy as i could…this is I really felt the world we had created collide. I realized that we were living her life. She loved it, it seemed because she called me her soulmate and told me constantly that she needed me. Until she found another woman that could fulfill her dreams….it seemed like overnight that she became like a monster. My ex always wanted to be in music….and this too i supported her 150% in. But, it was not enough. I began to realize that I gave everything i had to this woman….it was never enough…..the more I gave, the more she seemed to back away. I even moved to her home state, we bough a home, we got married…..we seemed to be doing what couples do. But one day she told me that she was having an intimate relationship with a woman in her band, i too was the singer in the band. She also said that this woman was a kindred spirit. I was in total shock. How she did this under my nose, was so shocking to me. I am confused. I had to leave and divorce her because she left once I called her on her emotional infidelity to us. She fell right out of our lives and moved right in to this woman’s life. My ex tried to make me stick around…saying that we will be together in two years once i get my life together…..this was absolutely shocking again….How was I the wrong one? Help me understand why I feel like I was to blame and why it is so hard to really see that this person almost destroyed me by her lies and inability to be honest in our relationship. I would appreciate any help in clearing my head and my heart from this person that was a complete farce.

    • UnForsaken

      millersilver, she tried to make you believe an untruth: that you needed her. The truth is we only need God. The truth is she wanted to be God.

      You are right about her being a Narc. She intended to control, shame, and discard you. Now it its your challenge to continuously remind yourself that YOU ARE VERY SPECIAL. God loves you very much.

      I know she wanted to insult you by suggesting therapy, but actually we all need someone confidential to talk to sometimes . Ironically, it might be helpful in getting over her – not the reason she suggested. We are all dealing with the pain and fall out of being near Ns, and that’s why it’s so great to share with each other here. If you want to, you could use the contact link for advice directly from Dave. He has really helped me!

      Do come back and read soon too. Hugs to you MillerSilver. Know you are very special. ❤ ❤ ❤

  41. becky

    Im married to an attorney, whom is also struggling with NPD. I have taken my daughter and left the relationship although I do not have any money or any place to go. Of course I am struggling with the loss of my husband, my home, my dreams. Its really hard.

    Something that I started doing about eight months ago, is recording his abuse on my phone. The control, name calling, blame.the outbursts, all of it. I did this in hopes that it would help him recognize his bizarre and horrible behavior. Of course, he wont even listen. I have recorded about 49 hours of it, without his knowing.

    Now, as I mourn the breakup, I have this. It helps me stay in reality.

    Also, I have this for court if and when we divorce. He is a master manipulator, liar, and worse, he is a divorce attorney. I do not stand a chance of a settlement in court, except for the fact that he would rather not have these recordings played before his peers and a jury.

    I dont know if what I did was right or wrong, but I am glad that I have these recordings. Prove it. beat them at their own game. It may help them in the end.

  42. I left my N husband one week ago today. He is the step father of my two children. My first husband was physically and mentally abusive and this current one I’ve just left is the N- very mentally abusive. The abuse didn’t start until he moved in with my children and I. It took me roughly 5 years to figure out he was a narcissist. I remember feeling a sense of relief being able to pinpoint his behaviors to something. I knew I wasn’t crazy like he said I was, but he sure made me feel worthless. So the next few years I started educating myself on narcissism. I found myself being able to stand my ground with him more. However, if I never gave in (apologized) he would threaten our relationship to be over. And still not being strong enough and exhausted from him, I still found my self not quite strong enough to make a change. Last year I started reading Brene Brown books. They’ve done wonders for me. I started learning how to love myself and how to have courage. I recommend them. And one week ago today, I finally left. I packed up the kids and am living with friends of the family. There was an unexplainable force that opened my path and made it happen. We are in a comfortable home, living in the downstairs where they have a kitchenette, etc… However it’s still very uncomfortable to be in a new place. Nothing is familiar. I find my self feeling lonely. It’s quieter than what I’m use to and I just miss my family being together as a whole. My husband took my car as well since it was in his name. That’s made it challenging as well. My husband just in this past week would call me at least 5 times a day and it was the same blame game from him. As much as I wish we could be together, i know nothing is going to change between us. Our conversations will be toxic and I need time to change/grow/figure out who I am (my likes and dislikes) rather than continue to listen to all the things he thinks I am. I keep telling him that’s HIS OPINION. I also do not share any information with him that’s not on a ‘need to know’ basis because he will use it against me somehow. So, just last night I found myself deciding to block his phone calls and text, delete from LinkedIn and Facebook, and told him he can email me if he would like to communicate. It’s not what I want ultimately, but mentally in order for me to grow its what I need. I do not know what’s going to happen from here. All I know is I am now allowed to make choices for myself without suffering his put downs/criticism/control/shame. After leaving, it’s nice to have a choice. I choose to NOT be a victim to abuse.

  43. Anna

    Hello, my name is Anna I am from Barcelona and I am going through a really hard time. I was with a man for 17 years I met him when I was 18 , we have a child together and the story goes like this: it was very charming very caring and then little things started, then it when to been good to been a evil person towards me, I tried hard to do everything his way so I could a least feel a bit loved. This past year it’s been horrible like most of the years together, but it when really ugly, drugs and alcohol involved. Try to be strong and forgive everything for my son. Try to cover up all the mess he was creating.
    When anytime I confronted him, he the disapear for days even weeks with no contact at all, when I was trying to call or message him. Then the day I was feeling so lost that I use to say sorry to have him back. Then one day that was it, he came home and I had to get him out. My son is 10 years and I had to do what I had to do. He always said to me I was so special he could not leave with out me and our son. Then one day he goes…and two months later after emails and messages we get to know true social media he is with another woman. So fast? How?
    It was me dealing with the debt he left us, with a rent we can’t afford, having to move from the house and not even putting money in the bank. He hasn’t clad his son. And I made things easier to him for a wile.
    I feel so angry for all his put me true, he left me emotionally unstable, economically ruin, and with a feeling I can’t describe, I just can’t deal with this feeling of dispare I am so sad and angry. He has gone and hasn’t even took his things. He is with this new woman…and why is this what hearts me more? I wish and wish every night that he would despaired and now that his gone it feels I am lost.
    He used me, I feel like this past 17 all I been tries…and he never ever apologized it was always my fault. I am destroyed and please help.

  44. God's Girl

    He walked out on me after 23 yrs of marriage and moved in that night with his next victim (she’s 72…he’s 61…I’m 55) but she is a victim nevertheless. He has had affairs all thru our marriage which I didn’t know about until now. I filed for divorce 2 months after he left. Of course she was just a “friend” giving him a place to stay. Once I discovered the “name” to what he has….the last 23 yrs just fell into place and it is sad….incredibly sad. He is a victim too. I don’t say this to justify or excuse any of his behavior but let’s face it…no one in their right mind would “choose” to be like this. He will fail with this woman and most likely with many more after her….searching and reaching for something he will never have….submission…repentance….forgiveness…..a full life in Christ….unless God intervenes. As the faithful spouse God has opened so many doors for me and brought wonderful supportive people into my life. Closing this door with my soon to be ex husband is what is needed. His behavior has been the same for the last 40 yrs. I want to experience what God has in store for my future..and I can’t do it clinging to the past of what I thought our marriage was because it wasn’t what God intended marriage to be. I have hope for my future and HE is with me always!

    • Rita Cizek

      Dearheart sweet God’s Girl, My stomach actually became upset while reading your post. 😦 The words I want to say may sound discouraging at the first reading, but they are meant to be loving, encouraging, wise.

      Your marriage was a long one. Even if you were divorcing just a jerk, it takes TIME to grieve, process, question, heal. With a N, you have to add more time to that; time to figure out and identify the lies about yourself you’ve had to believe in order to survive in this “marriage”. I was married 35 years, and was eager (as I sense you are) to ‘work so hard’ so I could move on and heal in the fastest time possible and get away from the crazy and the hurt and follow hard after God. All I can say is that I am SOOOOO grateful that our tender, loving Father sees all and knows what each of us needs to heal. I had to “come apart” even more than I thought in order to be put back together in a healthy way. Even my close friendships, relationships with my kids, etc. had to be restructured away from the dysfunction that is reality when an N is in charge of a family. It has been a very long and painful 5 years, but I’ll tell you, it was like an onion peeling. I wanted to just get to the middle of the onion with a knife and heal. God k,new that there were necessary layers that had to come off and be healed in a certain order so the inner core could receive healing. Today, my heart sings, my mind is clear, he has helped me stay on the highroad throughout the divorce and subsequent hell of trying to escape and live. I would do it all again very same way…..in God’s timing, under his schedule of revealing, grieving, able to see rightly, forgive, change and become whole, rather than my own “fast plan” I had when I started the journey. Jesus really is enough. He is so much more than I ever knew, and he is with you on this tough, tough journey. You will know his tenderness, his strength, his mercy, and even times of deep joy in the middle of hell. Keep your eyes on him, your chin to the heavens, good friends who pray and encourage and believe you, and a good Christian councilor if you can afford it. Best money I ever spent. Love you sister, hurt with you, and proud of your courage and determination. Prayers for comfort, for his healing touch when you hurt so much you want to die. I praise the Lord than you escaped!!! Work at letting go of your exhusband….his journey is between the Lord and him. Your story is now separate going forward. This is a process, be patient and merciful to yourself. With love from a sister who’s traveled the road.

      • God's Girl

        Thank you for your words of encouragement! I’m so sorry you had to travel this road too. It’s not fun. It has already been 3 months since he’s been gone so the Shock and Denial phase of grief is over. I move between Anger and Sadness now. I start my Christian counseling tomorrow and have met with my pastor many times already. My N was a vulnerable/passive/covert N …..different from the grandiose/aggressive /overt N. I have mostly raised my adult boys and run this house by myself for many years alone now so it’s no different for me than when he was living here. I think I stopped being his N supply a long time ago which is why he looked outside of the marriage for women. I was busy with my job, taking care of children and my home. Silly me I expected a partner when I got married. What was I thinking? …lol… right now I’m in the middle of gathering all the financials for the divorce which is overwhelming even though I’ve handled the bills all of our marriage. What is SO sad for me is that he can walk out and discard me……like I have been nothing for the last 23 yrs but according to all of the research I’ve done on N’s….I have been nothing to him…just an N supply and when I stopped being that…I’m not sure why he stayed so long? He lead me to Christ but I’m not sure if an N disorder and the Holy Spirit can coexist in one person. They are contradictory to each other. If he is not saved that would truly make me sad for him. You are correct his journey is separate from mine going forward and God has been faithful every day in leading me to the doors I need to go thru. Most of the time Im ok…and others like last night I cant stop crying …not for my husband or what our marriage was…but what I wanted it to be and it wasn’t!

  45. Laura

    The hardest thing for me to face is after 30 year marriage, he never loved. I have been alive 56 years and I have never really been loved. Seperated for 5 and still this runs through my head every day.

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