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My Narcissistic Ex-Husband

Reflections on loving and living with a Narcissist.  Let our experts guide you toward the healing power of moving on and allowing yourself some time in the spotlight.  Get advice on healing from his behavior and finding yourself again.

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My dad used to say that hindsight was 20/20. In other words, it’s always easy to see what you should have done when you are looking back on a situation. All of us have that one thing we would have done differently – for me it’s easy. If I had it to do again I’d hire a lawyer right from the beginning.

I Thought I Was Thinking Logically

One of the traits of someone who has been married to a narcissist is that they have been trained to believe that they don’t make good decisions.

He wanted the divorce. In fact, at that point I was still trying to move toward reconciliation. He told me he’d serve me with papers when he could afford it. We all know what that means, right?

Yeah, it could have taken forever.

I was determined to be logical and responsible when it became obvious that I was about to become the single mom of eight kids. I looked at the little I had squirreled away in savings, considered my income, and my expenses and decided that I would handle my own divorce. You can buy the paperwork on the Internet – heck you can buy anything on the Internet!

It just seemed like a no brainer.

Taking Responsibility - Again

I filled out the papers according to the instructions and divided up the property in a way that seemed fair to me. I got the house, we each got one of the investment houses, and we each got our own debts. Well, almost.

You see, in the divorce decree I took responsibility for a credit card in both our names and a loan that he had taken out in his own name using the house as collateral. My thought was that I was protecting myself by doing so – he had no intention of paying any of his debts. I wanted my credit to be as clear as possible.

I was determined that I wouldn’t saddle him with any responsibility. After all, I had been protecting him for 30 years and I didn’t know how to stop. When I filled out the paperwork for child support I asked for very little. In fact, the judge added certain stipulations that I hadn’t thought about because I had basically just set the ex free from every responsibility he had.

The divorce went through without a hitch. He didn’t bother to show up in court or acknowledge the proceedings in any way. I don’t know why it surprised me but it did.

Then, because I knew he wasn’t going to take care of the investment house I offered to take it after the divorce.


As I was tying up loose ends afterward I happened to strike up a conversation with a divorce lawyer. As I sat and talked about mundane things she listened intently and then she began asking questions. She was not happy with the answers I gave.

While it was too late for a do over on some things she advised me not to go forward with taking on the investment house. She also informed me, off the record that it wasn’t even legal for me to take on his debts unless my name was on them. I was saddled with a $50,000.00 lien against my house that I wasn’t responsible for but that could cause me to lose my house if I didn’t pay the payments. If I had given that debt to him in the original documents I might have been able to get a judgment against him for it, not that he would have paid it but the judgment would be there.

There were several other things that she sighed, cringed, and grimaced at as we went over my papers with her acting as a friend and not a lawyer. By the end of it I knew I had screwed up royally.

It’s important to shake off the guilt, stop trying to protect the ex, and take care of yourself or you will end up with nothing! Image Source: Flickr's Creative Commons: User Martinak 15

Don’t Continue to Make Mistakes

I have since paid off any debt that included me and refinanced the house to pay off his loan against it. I am still paying but now it’s in my name and my credit is benefitting. Nearly four years later his creditors are still calling my house and wanting to talk to him.

There is a possibility that, since my taking on his debt wasn’t even legal, I still may be able to sue him for the $50,000. 00 loan I paid off.  I am still pursuing that possibility and trying to decide if it’s worth it.

The thing is that now I don’t make decisions based on what I think, I talk to lawyers, child support officers, and any other professional that can give me good advice. When he doesn’t pay child support I don’t bother to email him because there is no real point. I just go straight to the child support office and get their recommendations, input, and help. I’ve found that these people are very willing to steer me in the right direction.

Get a Lawyer

No matter what your financial situation is you can get a lawyer. There are legal aid offices and other free programs that you can utilize to get the legal advice and help you need. Don’t be too proud to take it.

Looking back I have come to realize that I was trying to protect him throughout the divorce. I took financial responsibility, I took responsibility for the kids’ needs, and I even offered to help him with bills and groceries. The things you do after having lived with a narcissist for so many years are completely nuts.

A lawyer will be your Jiminy Cricket. No matter how much you believe that you are thinking straight the probability is that you are still making decisions that are influenced by the narcissist and they won’t be in your own best interests.

A lawyer can be that go between, that person who takes the weight of the decisions off of your shoulders, that person who is looking out for you. There is an incredible amount of comfort in that. When your ex rails at you it gives you the ability to look at him wide-eyed and shrug. It’s not your decision, it’s your lawyer’s.

Shake Off the Guilt

For 30 years I felt guilty for everything that went wrong in my ex-husband’s life. I was given responsibility for things that I was not in control of. I was made to feel guilty for every screwed up opportunity, every bad choice, you name it.

When I was advised to make a decision that I knew would have negative consequences for the ex I got that nervous feeling in my stomach. Sometimes I cried.

Those times are happening less frequently.  I remind myself that he made choices and those choices came with consequences. I am not being unreasonable to ask that he help with child support – there are millions of men that pay their child support when it’s due and without complaint. Not only that, it’s the law.

And therein lies one of the biggest problems a narcissist faces. For some reason they seem to believe that they are above the law, untouchable, and can live their lives their way without consequences. If there is fallout from something they’ve done you can bet that the blame lands squarely on the shoulders of the “crazy ex-wife”.

Guilt is pointless. You’ve carried it for too long. It’s time to step back and let karma do its work. With the help of a good lawyer you’ll be able to disassociate yourself from your narcissistic ex-husband more easily. You’ll have more confidence that the decisions being made will benefit you and the kids. Most of all, you’ll avoid doing stupid things like agreeing to be responsible for his $50,000.00 loan. 

You don’t have to go through this alone. It’s good to get advice from others who have been through it. First Wives World is a community filled with women supporting women through the challenges of divorce. Someone needs to hear what you have to say.  Register today and find inspiration, encouragement and strength. 

Lead Image Courtesy of Flickr's Creative Commons- Lara Cores

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  • Comment Link norma Friday, 06 May 2016 15:06 posted by norma

    trying to breakfree

  • Comment Link rebelmama27 Monday, 30 December 2013 20:39 posted by rebelmama27

    What a great article! I wish I had seen this 2 years ago before my separation. There is what part I have a question about. The article says - "No matter what your financial situation is you can get a lawyer. There are legal aid offices and other free programs that you can utilize to get the legal advice and help you need. Don’t be too proud to take it." I did not find that to be true. I had been a stay at home mother and at the time we separated was only working 15 hours a week. I called Legal Aid for my state only to be told that because I wasn't physically abused, I did not qualify for their services. I called a few other places to no avail, and got sick of telling my story to people. In the end I just signed the divorce papers without a lawyer and ended up with my car (that I still had to make payments on, he got the one that was paid for), and joint custody of my children each having them the same number of days per year. If there are other sources of legal help for those who have been married to these narcissists, please can someone direct me?

  • Comment Link JBird Sunday, 15 December 2013 19:56 posted by JBird

    I agree with you Writerbrit (mine also adds 'delusional' several cars and him and ow living in two seperate houses several bedrooms, constantly moving, to make it look like they are poor when I am struggling for real) , not every attorney you hire will have your best interest at heart. I have very few funds, yet my ex is well over the 200's every year... but not on paper, well the papers I see anyway.
    Just from reading your post Marye, I don't know that what you were feeling was guilt as much as it was having an actual conscience. Remember it isn't something our exes always have. Mine doesn't know what the word means. Every action him and the ow take is basically a hit against me, and one point for them. Kind of like a fun game. It is ridiculous. It sounds like you are beating yourself up a little. You should stop. You don't deserve that. Remember who you are, forget him. And above the law is my ex as well, instead of paying real child support he went and started wooing my kids.....has had them for several months. I have done everything to go, fight, I can do this to ok he can get whatever he wants.....that is what they do, you are right. It is really sad when we become that kind of person, because of how we get treated. Electroshock brain therapy :) I wish there was a local clinic to get their constant bull out of the head, just something we have to learn how to react correctly to. Amazing they create the issues, we have to get take the punches. Many HUGS to you!

  • Comment Link MaryeAudet Tuesday, 26 November 2013 04:29 posted by MaryeAudet

    Good point. :)

  • Comment Link Writerbrit Tuesday, 26 November 2013 03:32 posted by Writerbrit

    'Good lawyer' is the key phrase in what you write here: get a narcissist lawyer or the narcissist gets a legal expert sympathizer and things could get even worse.

    Sounds like you've coped really well. There's no perfect outcome or 'one response fits all' when dealing with someone who has a personality disorder or who is hell-bent to 'win'.

    Most lawyers, or other professionals, are no more 'expert' in managing the situation than the person who's living through it. If they found themselves in the same personal situation- they'd be negotiating eggshells and quicksand too.

    That's the thing with NPD, it's so weird no one who hasn't been there will truly empathize or believe you. It's not the same as dealing with someone who is just irresponsible or immature or incapable- in fact many times narcissists demonstrate none of that outwardly and it's the neurotic paranoid victim who seems like the crazy one.