Inspiration, Encouragement & Strength
join a community of support ›

Divorce Doctor

Get healthy divorce advice from our in-house specialist.  Whether you need tips on choosing a mediator or you want an expert's opinion on post-divorce parenting, she has answers for your most troubling questions.  Ask away, the doctor is in!

Back to Article List

Filter Articles By:  

The Divorce Doctor responds to a question posed by one of our readers in the comment section for “My Narcissistic Ex-Husband- The Idealization Phase of Your Relationship”.

Crazytrain wrote:

Sounds like my ex. I have been up all night because I have been caring for our four kids while he woos his hew girlfriend. We divorced six months ago and he has already convinced her to marry him. 

It makes me sick that he seems to have turned into a saint overnight. Just worried he will want custody of my kids after all the sacrifices I have made for them. Now he is trying to act like father of the year after he walked out on all of us. 

Question that burns in my head... Is it really my fault? He treated me horribly but always blamed me. Has he changed or is this girl his new victim? 


 

Dear Crazytrain,

You are not alone. As you know, the writer of that article was involved with a narcissist.  I was also involved with someone who could have been a casebook study for narcissism. Does that mean that we are all a bit crazy for being involved with these men? No, these men are charming in the same way as a sociopath, meaning that they know how to manipulate even the smartest woman to get what they want. It’s all about me, me, me, even though they trick you at first into thinking it’s about you. 

Personality disorders are psychiatric illnesses and you can’t “cure” someone. There is no cure, but psychotherapy could help some people. The catch is that when you are a narcissist, you don’t think that there is anything wrong. 

The name comes from the character in Greek mythology. Narcissus couldn’t stop looking at his own reflection in the water, even though the beautiful wood nymph, Echo was in love with him. Narcissus came to a bad end, and so will every relationship that your ex becomes involved in.   

The best thing you can do is realize that he will constantly repeat this pattern with women and you are lucky to be rid of him. Even if he isn’t clinically suffering from this personality disorder, he’s a jerk. The new girlfriend probably is nice, these men attract lovely women, like you. Consider that a bonus. At least when your children are with him, they are also with a caring woman.

As for him getting custody of your kids, I wouldn’t worry too much. A real narcissist isn’t going to want to be tied down with children. I’m sure he loves them in his own way, and he loves the love they give him, but he is too self-centred to want to be a full time dad. He’s probably just using this threat to control you. You should still see a lawyer and take legal steps to ensure that you maintain custody.People say I was too nice for him. And my kids say new girl is nice too. But even then, he was already cursing her out in front of my kids at the waterpark. But she just laughed it off.

 

Image Courtesy of Www.Swprn.com

 

Dear Pam,

My husband and I are separated and he wants to get back together. We broke up because of his sex addiction. At least that is what he says is wrong with him, if you call cheating with at least five women an addiction. Those are only the ones I know about. He didn’t try to hide it very well; I think he was trying to get caught. He says he loves me more than anything, but he couldn’t help himself because he has a psychiatric problem and an addict is an addict. I do love him, but I can’t live that way. I had to go get tested for STDs because I was afraid of what he was doing. I know he also went to hookers and to a lot of strip clubs, and looked at a lot of porn online. I want to go ahead with the divorce because I don’t believe that he can change. Is there such a thing as sex addiction and can it be cured?

Co-dependent no more


 

Dear Co-dependent,

Compulsive sexual behaviour, hypersexuality, or sex addiction is just starting to be recognized as a personality disorder or addiction by some in the psychiatric community. The DSM-V, which is the American Psychiatric Association’s bible, hasn’t defined the disorder, even in the current edition which came out in May.

Is it an addiction or an excuse? Some famous people have come out as sex addicts, such as David Duchovny and Tiger Woods. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.  Like most addictions, there is no real cure, but there are programs to help addicts deal with their addiction. If your ex was destroying your family because of an alcohol or drug addiction would you stay with him? Is he in a treatment program?  There are support groups, such as Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous

Why put yourself through this hell? It’s not only hard on your heart, it could be dangerous for your health.

It’s difficult enough rebuilding trust after a spouse has an affair with one person, but it would be very difficult for you to trust him again. Trust is a key ingredient in a happy relationship, so that should be your answer. 

Co-dependent and Crazytrain, you both have similar problems in a way. You can’t change or fix another person. Both men and women can have sex addiction or narcissistic personality disorders. If you accept that your ex’s have psychological issues, maybe you can feel a bit of empathy towards them and lose the bitterness. That allows you to move on and build better lives for yourselves. Empathy is not the same as feeling sorry for them, so don’t get sucked back into that situation. Just because they won’t get help, doesn’t mean you can’t.  We all have issues, although some impact others much more negatively. There is no shame in going for counselling if you need someone to talk to. 

This may seem trite, but try to find the humor in these situations. Sayings are a cliché for a reason, and laughter is the best medicine. Come on! You both can’t tell me that you don’t have some crazy stories about a guy who can’t keep it in his pants or someone who thinks they are god’s gift to women. One day in the not to distant future, you’ll be able to sit with your girlfriends and have a good laugh about the hell those men put you through. 

The Divorce Doctor has a soft shoulder to cry on and a no holds barred approach to dealing with those nasty ex issues. No question is off limits. Email us today:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Back to Article List


Leave a comment

1 comment

  • Comment Link Commenter Friday, 12 February 2016 00:14 posted by Commenter

    12-Step programs usually don't work for sex addicts. (There's a higher relapse rate for sex addicts that are in 12-Step programs than for those who are not, although they are both over 90%.)

    Porn addiction is a real physical addiction that can be shown on a Functional MRI. The addict's brain activity is just the same as a drug addict's brain activity.

    But most sex addicts are just narcissists, doing what narcissists do: preying upon women because it makes them feel powerful, because women "deserve it" because they are "lesser" than men, and because the narcissist feels it is his right as a superior being to have as much sex with as many women as he wants, even though such behavior is despicable in "regular" men.

    The treatment for sex addiction, interestingly, is exactly the same as the treatment for narcissism. (Learning how to cope with stress without lying, learning how to be vulnerable, learning how to have real intimacy.) The places that offer this kind of treatment do not offer any statistics on their success rate, though.

    Personally, I've found accounts of successes to be incredibly rare. But those few I have found, show that the man is VERY impressed with himself. His sex life is amazing, even though he's monogamous now. His wife LOVES sex with him. Plus, he's a really, really, really great guy - even more incredibly wonderful than he was before he cured this one fault that he had... Well, you get the picture. Somehow, they don't seem like better husbands.

    On the other hand, even for those wives of "recovered" addicts, the advice - to be followed literally under threat of death - is to *always* use a condom when having sex with their "recovered" husbands. Because there still WILL be cheating - I mean, the occasional inevitable relapse. Also, she must constantly be on the alert for irresponsible spending. She must see to her own financial safety in ways he cannot compromise.

    I'm other words, she can never trust him completely. She can never really count on him. Never. Ever. Again. No matter how "recovered" he seems.