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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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For years after I realized that my husband wasn’t really interested in me I would have fleeting thoughts of divorce. I wondered what it would be like and always came back to the same thoughts.

  • I will be poor and broke.
  • I will be lonely and sad.
  • The kids will emotionally fractured.

My situation sucked, but I was used to it. Why would I jump into the unknown? I was in complete agreement with Shakespeare’s Hamlet. And makes us rather bear those ills we have, than fly to others that we know not of.

It Went Down, Y’all

I kicked the ex out in a fit of rage. I wasn’t thinking clearly and honestly I wasn’t in control of my actions. All of the years of struggle and frustration just spewed out, unlocked by one stupid action on his part - the one thing that would put me over the edge.

He cheated again.

In the time since that night I have often thought that it was a good thing that we did not keep deadly weapons by the bed. I was not rational and yet I did the most rational act of my adult life. I kicked him out and the next day I put ALL of his stuff on the front porch and told him to have it gone by 5 or I was sending it via FedEx to his girlfriend’s house addressed to her husband.

The Internet is a wonderful thing. Just as an interesting note, both my ex and his girlfriend blamed their spouses for their divorce and swear up and down that infidelity was not involved.

Of course not. We you aware that pigs could fly?

1. I Didn’t Expect to Get Over It so Fast

Divorce from a narcissist is ugly. I was scared.

When he was gone things happened that were not at all like I thought they would be. In fact, all of the well-intentioned advice I got from people about how horrible my life would be was, in fact, wrong.

I cried the night I kicked him out. I did. I was nearly hysterical for hours and then I sort of calmed down and just cried on and off until I looked like some sort of an alien with a bulbous red nose, swollen red eyes, and blotchy skin.

The next day I cried a little bit, maybe a couple of hours total, but I made homemade pumpkin fettuccine with chipotle and grilled shrimp and I immediately felt better.

The next couple of days were up and down. I would be almost suicidal and then I would be fine. Within two weeks I was not crying and not feeling desperate. I don’t know if that is a short time or an average time or a long time – I just know that I expected to be an emotional mess for months. After all, I had been married for 30 years.

You may be different. It may take you longer to get over your relationship and move on. That’s OK.

2. I Didn’t Expect to Get My Looks Back

I don’t know what it is but being married to a narcissist will make you old and ugly before your time. Here’s the good news – it’s reversible!

Within two weeks I had lost 14 pounds. I expected that because I don’t eat when I am upset. I don’t eat much anyway but when I am upset I skip meals for days. It’s not the best way to lose weight but hey - I have no thyroid and I am over 50 so I’ll take it however I can get it.

It wasn’t just my weight, though. Stress lines on my face began to disappear, I lost the deep, dark circles under my eyes, and I just looked better. I had people who knew me stopping me in the store to ask what was different. I went and bought some nice clothes at a store, not a thrift shop. I had my nails done for the first time in my adult life.

The physical difference was uncanny. In just a month or two I lost about 10 years.

3. I Didn’t Expect to Be Financially Blessed

I had been a stay at home mom for 30 years, in other words, I hadn’t worked since 1979 and it was 2009. I didn’t have a college degree, I had been out of the job market for what seemed like centuries, and I didn’t have any marketable skills. I had six kids at home that would want to eat more than once a week.

That was a scary place to be.

I am making a comfortable living, certainly more than the ex ever made. I have a savings account and excellent credit despite the fact that he left me with 60k in debt to pay off. I buy groceries without crying when I pay for them, worried that I have spent too much. I buy the kids clothes when they need them. A book deal last January meant that my current husband and I could take the kids on a weeklong cruise this past May.

I bought a new van for the family car and a Jag for my kids to drive. My husband bought me a BMW (2 seater) convertible for my birthday. The car I had when I was divorced was a broken down van with no heat, no air, and only one door that worked. I have an updated kitchen that’s almost finished, a deck in the back and a driveway. I had none of those things before 2010.

4. I Didn’t Expect to Be Loved

I did not expect to get into another relationship at all, and certainly not so fast. I didn’t expect to meet a man who would be just as or more giving than I was. I didn’t expect to find someone who would want to get involved with a woman who had six kids at home and a ramshackle house.

I didn’t expect it to be healthy.

I married exactly thirteen months after the separation almost exactly to the day. I kicked him out the end of October, the divorce was final the end of February, and I was married in November. I know that experts warn about doing that, especially after an abusive relationship, but it was right for me. I have never once felt like I made a mistake. I have never been happier or more secure.

5. I Didn’t Expect the Kids to Be Happier

When you get a divorce it’s hard on the kids. It’s emotionally shredding and difficult. I expected there to be tears, issues, rebellion, and adjustment issues but there wasn’t. It was weird, but the kids were relieved.

It wasn’t until weeks later that the older ones came to me and told me about physical abuse and emotional intimidation that I had not been aware of. They told me that I had seemed so happy in the marriage they didn’t want to “break it up”.

I was devastated that I had not protected them. Lesson learned – always be upfront and don’t cover things up.

We had none of the expected struggles blending my new husband into the family. The kids loved him from the beginning and he has loved them. He has offered them parenting, provision, and protection in a way that they never got it before.

Abuse Is Not Better than the Unknown

My take-away from all of this is that nothing is worse than abuse. The unknown can actually be a pretty nice place.

Living with a narcissist is like a terminal illness. It eats away at you from the inside out, day after day, until you are so weak that you don’t care anymore and the last of your essence fades away. Since my divorce I have been happy, secure, and content. Living in a healthy relationship is indescribable. The worst day I have had with my second husband is better than the best day I had with the narc.

Life is good.

What about you? Are you afraid to move on into the unknown? Join First Wives World today and talk it over with people who understand what you are dealing with and can help you make a decision that is right for you.

Image Courtesy of Flickr's Creative Commons, User: p-duke

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  • Comment Link Mu Tuesday, 03 October 2017 06:53 posted by Mu

    Wow!!! I'm happy for you...I'm still struggling guess its because I'm still living with the monster

  • Comment Link Sandra Monday, 11 September 2017 14:47 posted by Sandra

    Ex ask me to marry him a second time, moved in with me he's still married to narc in florida, in the meantime he conned me into a car he gave me beau a beautiful boxer bulldog. He abused both of us, he recently left 7 months ago fled to his lying enabling family he's ruining my credit and harming my dog
    He's now costing me more money running up legal fees. What can i do

  • Comment Link barbs Wednesday, 31 May 2017 13:24 posted by barbs

    Made the decision to divorce my N after many years of marriage. A cold lonely relationship at best. Granted in 2013, I now wonder if my attny could also be N. May have found "hidden" accounts. Wants to go thru mediation? WHAT?!!??
    Why? Mediation with a N would prove nothing.
    Just money ill spent.

    I want to pull the plug. I cannot deal with these two men any longer.

    BEGONE Ns everywhere!!

    Best of luck to all trying to extricate from these blood sucking vampires. and HUGS too :)

  • Comment Link Elena Prochaska Friday, 21 April 2017 18:04 posted by Elena Prochaska

    I'm 57 yrs old, involved in contentious divorce (after a very cold, punishing 10 yr marriage) It has only been six months since I discovered the term "Covert Sadistic Narcissism" and what that abuse looks like. Not about me missing or loving my ex, just "need" to get this bitter, punishing, vengeful, sadistic man "out of my life...permanently! Very destructive emotionally and mentally and it affects four other people (my 81 yr old father, my daughter (25 yrs old, and my 3 yr old Grandsin)
    Tomorrow...he comes to 'finally' to move his property he has refused for fourteen months! I am scared! No one sees this but me (covert). He is very cold, mean and vengeful with "no end in sight." What do I do? How do I act or respond??? Dreading tomorrow!!!!

  • Comment Link Phillis Cook Tuesday, 24 January 2017 00:44 posted by Phillis Cook

    I'm 59 and been divorced since 4/4/14 but i cant get away from the narcissist! Why? Because every body is helping him try to kill me. Unfortunately i live in a town where you pad my pocket and i will pat your back is the normal mentality! Local cops wont even help me. I cant eat out anywhere for any number of things happening but the worst is my food ALWAYS has some kind of dope and or poison in it. Same with food i go to the grocery store to get. Any i do get to bring in that's NOT poisoned becomes tainted very fast. Symptoms are horrid and these people are trying to kill both my 97 yr old mom and me. When police do bother to come im not positive a real cop has ever even come because of their attitudes! They ALWAYS talk down to me and criticize me and say stuff like your ex didn't do this. He's not in on this and besides your home is too boarded up no one can get in.... see what i mean? They will never take finger prints, pictures or anything else to help. They wont even take a report because there doesn't appear to have been a crime when all kinds of stuff is stolen, broken, or hidden! This is such a LONG story that needs told. Ive tried to get word out to major news channels and Dr Phil because his wife Robin has some kind of program on domestic violence. No one will help me get the help i need though because too many peoples hands are in on an IRA that i got from the divorce. Hence the so many trying to kill me. So many people i know or am kin to have gotten new or newer land, houses, cars, major redecorating, fancy vacations etc. While i do without.

  • Comment Link Sherry ann Sunday, 20 November 2016 06:36 posted by Sherry ann

    What an inspiration you are!! Finally, an experience of someone who divorced a narcissist who didn't go through years of maingames and emotional battering during the divorce _ And you've got kids! I'm about to start divorce proceedings although we've been separated 2 years. All advice talks about how difficult and mind shattering the divorce for a narcissist will be and I better prepare for the battle of my life. But your story has given me such hope. I know I will be reading this again and again. I love the sentence "I didn't expect to be blessed". This brought tears to my eyes. And when you spoke about how your husband promised parenting, provision and protection for your children. Oh, that's all I want for them, and dare I say, for myself. Thank you for sharing. I wish you and your family continued love and blessings. By the way, any chance you could share the pumpkin fettuccine recipe? It sounds delicious!!

  • Comment Link Elizabeth Hotchkiss Tuesday, 20 September 2016 20:44 posted by Elizabeth Hotchkiss

    I have been married 34 years. All this time I was trying to figure this guy out. He undermined and obstructed everything I did. I spent years researching my daughters illness, spent 3000.00 on Brain scans, my son had horrible headaches, brain overload and processing problems, it became my lifes work to help them. My husband had NO interest. My daughter has Aspergers. At 17, because of being teased so badly at school, and having an absent father, she fell victum to a guy who was a dangerous preditor. I could not get my husband to help me protect her. I was so desperate to make sure she was safe, I moved in with them in a tiny guest house, and slept outside on her patio. I witnessed him kidnap a boy, from a store he worked at 2 days a week. He put him in a car and took him to his grandparents empty house under construction. He got away with it, in short. He has a felony record in Arazona, after kidnapping the kid, he got her to move to Or. My husband refused to believe me or do anything to protect her. I forced moving to Oregon to make sure she was safe. She lost a child and was going to be living in her car. I got a life threatening illness, but I had them move in with us. While this monster was in my home, he stole from me, picked all the stones out of my jewelry, and my husband told me I had no proof, and let this guy covertly screw with me-terrorize me. He told me I was crazy, my memory was wrong, and I had no facts.
    My daughter had a child. They moved out on state aid when she was Three. Then my husband and I discovered she was molested. He refused to help me get this guy fact, during the investigation, he told them behind my back the secrets about the case. He took their side. My daughter was in complete denial. I was cut off, and completely slandered and every one in my extended family cut me off. The police department let him off, with out even physically checking her. As I mentioned before, I was going through a life threatening Illness over a 12 year period, that went undiagnosed. I gained allmost 100 lbs, could hardly get out of bed, and started reclusing, while my husband totally ignored me. now this guy was totally obsessed with guns, making his own bullets, explosives, and refused to work. he was "stupid smart" telling me how he loved torturing animals. Has another side to him thats very scientific.
    He would say things to me like " you better watch it, I have a bag of lie in my trunk" after turning this in to police, my husband left town on location for work for several months. This guy had a key to my house, and was sneaking in, and destroying things. Stalking me under my own roof. I thought every time I went to bed at night, I was going to get a bullet to the back of my head. My husband told me I was imagining things. Im crazy. I need help. And again devulging info to him behind my back. This april, after finally getting my relationship back with my daughter, and having met my second grandchild, and developing a very strong bond with them, my daughter showed up at my door there, scared to death. The things she told me about him made me feel like running to the bathroom to throw up. He had told her he was a victum of a molestation for years, and that at 11 years old, he had been recruting boys gor his offender, and participating in such horrible torture, she would never tell. She said she would take it to her grave. That night she said her daughter had some kind of pain " down there" but when she checked her, couldnt find anything wrong. So I asked my grandaughter if I could take a look, and she said yes. (Now 7) I knew he liked little boys, so I checked her behind. What we saw was the result of violent sodomy . She took out a restraining order, which didnt stick, because of the way she left out answers (autisum) she put down her reasons as being "scared of him, and drug use" she never wrote down, that he had molested her children.
    He took off with a military manual and the kids birth certificates. My grandaughter was showing beginning signs of multiple personality disorder, going into different charicters, one she called "Mean Cat". She said he was blind and going deaf, and he kept her safe.
    We took both kids to the hospital, filled out police reports, and were told to take her to a forensics lab the next morning. The policeman there told me We were dealing with a phychopath. The next day I tried to call to come in, and thats where the whole case fell apart. I did not know this at the time, but there was a section on the restraining order that asked if the perp had a record in any other state, and she had left it blank. It also stated that if you suspected abuse you could take your child to this forensics lab the very next day as a walk in. To shorten this up, as soon as my husband got there, my daughter began ganging up on me with my husband. He was mincing words over what the papers said. I went to see a lawyer who said "the state will not help you" period. I asked if she had mor protection under the "americans with disabilities act, because she had Aspergers. This grabbed her attention. The next day the lawyer whom we had not even hired, told my daughter I said that. She and my husband denied that she had it. My husband when reminded with pictures of her and medical reports, said I had coached these Doctors. Everything went south. I became a target of both of them. I have complex PTSD. I was so paralyzed from running from the perpitrator who had a gun, the police said they would not help us. The police officer told me they had only 9 nine police officers for the entire city of Springfield Oregon. I have pictures, gruesome pictures of what this guy did to her daughter. Once again I was cut off from helping her. He fought the restraining order an had it expunged. I left Oregon torn to shreads. I feel like my husband took a hatchet to my soul. My daughter cut me out of her life, and said things to me, that I cant repeat here. My husband, as I was leaving was screaming at me " your a liar, your a liar" over and over. I was gone 6 months living out of hotels, went to stay with an old friend, my only friend dyeing from 4th stage cancer, then flew to alaska using a credit card ( my husband stalks me by keeping bank account on line, so every time I use a debit card, he can track me) I waited to come back to a temporary apartment in Burbank I got, to get away from my daughters husband 3 years ago, until my husband comes back from Atlanta, from shooting a movie there. I desperatly want out, I cant get to our money to get a lawyer. I cant find an advocate or help anywhere. My husband threatened me that I will end up homeless, with no medical benifits. I had panic attacks so bad, my breathing shut off and I was taken by ambulance 3x to stay in an ICU unit. I cant be here when he returns. My heart feels like its going to explode in my chest, and my blood pressure keeps spiking to 150 bpm. Im trapped. Any sugestions anyone?????? This is the short version....... Oh, my daughter is still in danger, and her husband got 50/50 custody. Somebody email me. I have no where to go. He makes180.000 a year, and Im about to be homeless. HELP

  • Comment Link Ilene Saturday, 30 July 2016 01:54 posted by Ilene

    Oh, thank God you wrote this. I'm reading it two years later and it is exactly what I needed to hear. I feel like the way I have been feeling the past 7 months must be wrong. I feel so good, look 100% better (his mistress will be ugly soon enough), have hope for the future, only really mourned off and on for a month before I sold my wedding rings and all the jewelry he gave to me over 20 years, and the children are so much happier with him gone. I couldn't be more happy to be rid of him. My therapist says it is because I accepted it rather than dwelling on the hopes of the past and wishing for reconciliation. It also helps to have learned from personal experience and from pros about how narcs can't change. A friend who went through something similar keeps coming to talk to me and messaging me with mournful messages about understanding my sorrow etc. and how hard it will be to let go. I keep telling her I am fine and she won't believe me. I can't wait to see what the future holds. The past is nothing but a nasty awful memory that I wish I could forget. The future only holds promise.

  • Comment Link Mindy Sunday, 26 June 2016 14:04 posted by Mindy

    Thank you for giving me some hope. I read the first paragraph and burst into tears because that is exactly how I've felt for years. My divorce was final last week and now I'm trying to wade through unexpected emotions but I know I'll be feeling better soon.

  • Comment Link Mrs.Wrong Tuesday, 29 March 2016 19:49 posted by Mrs.Wrong

    Thank You Kevin, for your truthful comments. not some fairy tale...

  • Comment Link Sh28nnon Monday, 14 March 2016 18:08 posted by Sh28nnon

    I need help. I have been off and on w mine for 11 years we have a son together. After a two and a half year split..he kicked me out and moved in another girl two months later... I took him back. Was tired of hurting. Wanted a family still "loved" him. After five months it just wasn't working. He would say things when aggrivated like "I have everything and you have nothing." I realized he would never understand my emotions and I left. Now he is moving to Florida in two days and I'm devastated. He said I could go but I know it wouldn't work with the way that he is. And he is leaving our son. How do I get over him and never go back!! I get so depressed my anxiety is bad and I hate my life A lot.

  • Comment Link Sam Saturday, 12 March 2016 05:14 posted by Sam

    Thanks for the lift, Im finally divorced that soul sucking cretin. After being in the relationshit for 15years enough was enough when he swore at my dead father God rest his soul.
    Obviously I gave as good as I got this time I didnt hold back as at that point all my emotions had been burned by my venom.48 hours later, as he threatened to beat up my 3 brothers ha joke so goddamn cocky, I called him up told him to be at my house by a certain time to sign the divorce papers and hung up. I didnt give him a chance to breath, I meant business and wasnt going to stop at any point.
    Well my brothers were waiting for the so called beating and the narc as u refer to it called 14 times after leaving my town. At this point I knew it was now or never. Rung him back told him to park up so I could get it over with and....I did just that.
    I am not going to cry because it wasnt me that failed to do the neccesary it was him. I dont feel nothing just wish I had done it sooner but better late than never.
    To all those women living with a prentious snake, remember that a snake can never be a friend it will always bite. Dont take no crap from anybody breath and get rid of the thing that disturbs the peace of your heart. It will be the best move I promise have faith in God and know He will be there for you...
    Have respect for yourself you dont deserve this. Take the leap and have faith in yourself afterall you survived before he was in your life and you can manage after he has been dismissed.

  • Comment Link Maria watters Friday, 04 March 2016 09:14 posted by Maria watters

    hello from London ...

    currently in year two of divorce to a "narc" (love that short hand) your article has given me much hope and slowly in my own experience day by day i can relate to what you express here. My hope is returning, my voice is back, my son is blossoming ..... still dark times as narc is now in charmer - abuse mode but the boundaries are to strong.

    Life is to short to be lived unhappy, abused and alone. A mother is a role model to be able to take the step to leave- a healthy happy home is what we all deserve. not a prison, for mother or childs.

    feel sad for the narc for they remain in their deep dark cells alone living with their 'black dog and green eyed envy of you.

    Thank you again for sharing you experience

  • Comment Link Carla Friday, 05 February 2016 05:21 posted by Carla

    It's so amazing to me how you find things without looking when you need to in life. I left my husband 2 months ago. He is awful and the abuse hasn't stopped even though we aren't together. I'm so tired and drained. Thank you for writing this article. It gives me hope. I have been a stay at home mom for 12 years and have no secondary education. It's a scary decision to leave but I had to for my sanity and for my three beautiful kids. I don't know what to do or where I'm going but thank you for your uplifting story. I truly needed some hope and I found some in your words.

  • Comment Link Jjj Friday, 05 February 2016 02:41 posted by Jjj

    Thank you for writing this. Every article is about how horrible it is to divorce a narcissist. While I understand that divorce is by no means easy, I agree that it is certainly better that the abuse. Time to make a move.

  • Comment Link LJ Wednesday, 27 January 2016 02:41 posted by LJ

    Hi! I'm sooooo glad to be done with Mr. Narc-Hole Ex. It would take hours to type all the evil he had done in the course of our lives together. He got off on destroying self-esteem and self-worth in everyone. He played the Christian husband and daddy role really well, except it was all a façade, a big old farce. Mr. Nice Guy out in public and an evil, selfish, manipulating, exploitive, two-timing fool at home. Cheated more than 2x, blamed all the other women, except he failed to mention he was exploiting and coercing them because they were still wet behind the ears and dumb to the fact that they weren't dealing with Mr. Prince Charming, but with Mr. Prince Harming. He managed to get us in over half a million in debt within a matter of a year or two for his ridiculous purchases. Anything Mr. Hot Pants wanted Mr. Hot Pants bought. He screwed up my credit, took out equity loans without consulting me, thought it was ok to deceive all his business partners. He would get off laughing and carrying on like an immature 18 year old when he would dupe men with Master's Degrees in Business out of money. That was his personality, a real peach, a real winner. Not. He was a coward. He was evil. He was a user. Abuser. Nothing worse than evil disguised as good. Or your so-called soul-mate that is more like your death sentence. He literally sucked my life force energy out of me. I was suicidal, damn near broke me and my spirit because he always had to win, be right, or use others to get ahead in life. Well, what goes around comes around. Glad to be done with all the chaos and heartache men like this cause. Good day!

  • Comment Link Kaya50 Sunday, 03 January 2016 15:47 posted by Kaya50

    I was married for over 20 years to a Narcissist, a retired Army First Sargent and later a Police Officer. One evening he just got up and left my son and I for a young cop co worker. I felt like my entire world crashed down on me. At first I was mad, but after a few months of crying and begging to him to come back (I am not proud of this at all) I gathered all my strength. I hired an awesome attorney, filed for divorce and took him to court for everything he did to me. I knew I could not hurt him emotionally but I sure got to him financially. I went no contact, put all my emotions aside and I fought him. My best advise is to let the lawyers talk. Do not talk to him, he will manipulate and blame more. And then later use your own words against you. Now 3 years later, still no contact, my life is happy, peaceful and secure. No one lies to me, no one subjects me to diseases and no one disrespects me like he did. He can have his little minions. He lost everything, including the love of his only son. Fortunately there are no minor children involved. Divorcing him was the best decision I ever made. And yes people tell me I look happy, healthy and good. I am 50 years old and I should have put an end to this abusive marriage many years ago. I used to hate the coworker for the affair. I am grateful for her her now. He can now lie to her and discard her. Glad its not me anymore. You have to stay strong, I felt like a gladiator going through this nasty divorce. I had my shield, my faith in God and my Attorney. My ex can't get to me anymore. What an awesome feeling. I do not have a new relationship. I am perfectly fine on my own. I had lost myself in that marriage and it is great to just know how to love myself again. All the ugly things he told me, like I am fat,old. boring , my hair is too short were his insecurities. Not mine. I now know none of this is true. He was just evil and he will always be evil. No contact because I do not communicate with the devil.

  • Comment Link Garcinia Active Slim Friday, 01 January 2016 23:19 posted by Garcinia Active Slim

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  • Comment Link Kevin Tuesday, 15 December 2015 17:28 posted by Kevin

    I'm sorry, but I'd have to say that your situation likely falls into about .001% of people who divorce from narcissists. Probably less.

    Nice you got over it so fast, but realize that the vast majority have a great deal more work to do than that. The emotional abuse is not something that most just snap back from and often requires therapy and other support.

    Nice that you lost weight and looked better. I can understand the more 'macro' side of just being healthier without the abuse, but it's not uncommon to go the other direction during that time frame.

    Nice you found love again. In my experience through my support group and elsewhere it is far, far more common for those of us abused by a narcissist to have some hurdles to get over before being able to be in a healthy relationship. Issues of trust, self-doubt, and just plain fear are more the norm as we venture into that arena.

    Nice you got a lucrative book deal and career after being a stay-at-home mom for so many years. Honestly, do you propose this to be common? The financial aspect of ANY divorce is so much more often devastating, and those of us who have dealt with a narcissist during a financially contested divorce can tell you how draining that can really be - to your funds and your well-being.

    Great that your kids are so well adjusted. I mean that. I hate seeing kids so fractured and it kills me every day when I see the wisps STILL left upon mine even after 3 years of being divorced. You are very lucky there. A narcissist is abusive emotionally, to be sure, but most kids still love their parents and cannot make that distinction to any degree.

    I am sorry to be a downer like this, but come on - you had the absolute 'perfect storm' of things happen in your case. Seriously, you seem to be saying, "People, divorce your spouse and look how great everything will be!". Hey, divorcing an emotionally abusive narcissist is ALWAYS a step in the right direction, but one must be prepared for all that's really, actually involved. Doubt anyone will match your better looking, better loved, book-writing, healthy-kid, BMW-driving model. Nope. More like constant battles as a co-parent, lingering issues from your emotional pain, very trying financial times, and kids that will break your heart. Sorry.

    But here is the deal - it's STILL better than staying folks. No matter what, you can heal and so can your kids, bank account, etc. But not while your narcissist is still your spouse. Good luck all.

  • Comment Link Auldcooper84 Sunday, 15 November 2015 00:36 posted by Auldcooper84

    What an inspirational piece. Well done to you and your children. Your article rings so true with my married situation. We were together for 13 years and a year and a half later I'm still trying to divorce him. I worked with him and had to quit my job, and move in with my parents for a year, although financially (for now) things aren't great I know I have the determination to succeed. My two wonderful children and I have created a happier and healthier life and I just wish I had made the move sooner.

  • Comment Link Bridget Friday, 23 October 2015 14:54 posted by Bridget

    I have filed divorce proceedings against my husband of 37 years. You have no idea of the feeling of abandonment I feel. His last fling was with a younger lady, not that that makes any difference, he had told her I had died tragically many years ago. A very sick statement to make, since I do feel I had died. I'm scared. How in Gods name did I not notice the receipt, lies, anger, bulling. I thought this is how a woman was to be appreciated. I'm not angry with him but at myself. How do I cope?

  • Comment Link amanda Monday, 19 October 2015 17:44 posted by amanda

    I am now divorcing what I consider to be a narcissist. I too am in my 50's. It is a long story but the lying got to me and I couldn't take it anymore and I've finally had enough. I am financially better off than he is since I have a 401k and some savings and he seems to not want to fight to get any of my money. I don't know if he is a narc or just your garden variety jerk. He fits a lot of the criteria. Your article was very inspirational.

  • Comment Link Breathdeep83 Thursday, 01 October 2015 01:59 posted by Breathdeep83

    Thank you for you article. I spent 14 years with my narc husband. Unfortunately, mine is far from out of my life. He was having the classic affair with the office secretary and even took our kids on outings with her and her kids while we were together!
    But now that we are divorcing, he's refused to move anything out, walks in without knocking daily, threatens me emotionally, and financially every chance he gets.
    I just don't get it! He has wife #2 ready to go. He doesn't want to be with me, but he still has to control every facet of my life. And if I fight it, he punishes me by not returning my kids or berating me in front of them. He was a jerk when we were together, but he's terrifying now that we're apart. I'm afraid that if things get ugly, or he feels threatened, he may just make me disappear and never feel an ounce of remorse.

  • Comment Link Shelli Drummond Tuesday, 25 August 2015 06:26 posted by Shelli Drummond

    Thank you so much for writing this ... I have been crying for hours and I needed to read your message of hope! I actually caught myself smiling and fantasizing about good things for me and my daughter while reading it.

  • Comment Link Natalia Friday, 14 August 2015 03:08 posted by Natalia

    Great article! I wake up happier and relieved every day now the kids and I no longer live with their Dad. It was worth him kicking us out after I wouldn't forget his latest cheating and then trying to convince a Family Court I was crazy (that familiar line of the abandoned narcissist which didn't work this time...).I learned what malignant narcissism is and confirmed in my head it WASN'T ME. I learned his behaviours are a cliche. I learned the research shows our kids aged 11 and 8 have more chance at happy adult lives now even though they experienced a traumatic family breakdown. I learned they understood their Dad was selfish and self-centred and love him but don't trust him. I learned they completely trust me. I have not missed him.

  • Comment Link Chrisdee Friday, 26 June 2015 23:55 posted by Chrisdee

    THANK YOU for sharing your experience. I can only say that I agree. It took me a year to come to your same conclusion. Life after the narc is like a rebirth of sorts. Myself and the children are happy, more financially secure, and I unintentionally met an awesome man that truly loves and respects me and my children. Thanks for letting others know that the dark existence of narcissistic abuse is NOT better than the opportunity to live life. Although I was married to the narc for a mere 15 years to your 30 years, I actually had the same freeing epiphany in that I threw him out after yet another blatant infidelity. I put his things in the garage and took them to the Goodwill when he didn't get them in after a week. Life is now better than I could have ever imagined and divorcing the narc has given myself and my kids a FIRST chance go a enjoying life rather than simply surviving.

  • Comment Link Tracy Wednesday, 03 June 2015 23:45 posted by Tracy

    Wow - I really needed to read your article-thank you! I was in a marriage for 24 years to a covert narcissist and every single thing in my life went to hell over and over again. We broke up numerous times but he always promised to change...go to counselling etc. but as soon as we were back together it went to hell again.

    I finally had enough a year ago and two weeks ago finally separated - truly separated - from him. And he disappeared-even said he's never going to see our son again because our son doesn't love or respect him!

    Anyhow your article has given me faith I can get my life back. I was left disabled, old before my time, no money and two big dogs to look after but things are slowly working out and our needs are being met. As upset as I am some days, I know this is the right thing to begin my life again at 51. :)

  • Comment Link cara Saturday, 23 May 2015 20:43 posted by cara

    I have been living with a narcissist for almost four years(married a year and a half) He abandoned me and his daughter and my other two children for another woman. Now I am going to divorce him and he is making my life hell already

  • Comment Link Charmian Allen Saturday, 14 February 2015 10:10 posted by Charmian Allen

    I too was surprised that I grieved for the end of my marriage and that he was not the father to my daughters he should have been.

    I now realise that I had a painful shoulder for years and that has now gone and I feel liberated.

    My children too shared experiences of unkindness and physical violence whilst I was at work and that was hard to accept.

    He still lies about me but then we know if their lips are moving they are lying!

  • Comment Link Michelle Delve Sunday, 04 January 2015 22:39 posted by Michelle Delve

    I realise that I am being emotionally abused and want to divorce my husband. I not only live with him but also work for him.I am really anxious about how to manage financially to get away from him. I have spoken to a solicitor who specialises in domestic violence, it is the best way forwards.
    Both the financial and home security are huge issues for me.

    Any advise would be great help

  • Comment Link linda Wednesday, 06 August 2014 22:53 posted by linda

    What an awesome story! I too think I would get over this NARC I am married to (for 30 years) fairly quickly if and when I make the break. But everyone has to and needs to, move at their own pace. We act (I believe) when we are ready. But you are an inspiration for many I am sure. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Comment Link Rae-me Monday, 04 August 2014 20:42 posted by Rae-me

    How long after you separated did you find up husband now?

    What did you do in the separation process that helped? Counseling? Church? Not talking to your ex? Needing A mediator when u did? Who went and filed?

  • Comment Link maria ambriao Monday, 07 July 2014 00:16 posted by maria ambriao

    that is amazing and it gives me hope that maybe someday I will find some one. Me and my girls will be happy again. Thanks for sharing

  • Comment Link petieriley Saturday, 05 July 2014 03:20 posted by petieriley

    Gosh. You are giving me hope that I can get through this. I am in the beginning stages of a divorce. He is ready to move on after 26 years of marriage and knowing him for 33 years. A long time of habits made that I fear I can't break. My husband was a great provider, but I always felt I was lacking something and the deep intimacy was one of them. I have never felt like I was his number one. He has always been caught up in the being the best at everything else he gets into. He is addicted to working out and taking care of himself. Because I was taken care of well financially, I have been unable to see the narcissistic side of him that was not good. Sex wasn't about connecting. I only felt close to him if we had it and that's when I would feel loved by him. Days later I didn't feel it. So, basically I just felt like he needed that to reassure himself that we were good even though we weren't most of the time. A selfish guy that I just grew more and more unattracted to. Now, he is in midlife and is so in love with himself and I think he thinks he can now do better ( after a hair transplant) He is obsessed with his outside and even though everyone who meets him thinks he is so great I know he is not an in depth person.

  • Comment Link marye Thursday, 26 June 2014 17:52 posted by marye

    Thank y'all for your courage to share, to continue to care for your kids, and strength to move on when you are overwhelmed. You are the inspiring ones.
    Thank you for your comments. I do get a quite a lot of commentary about me doing this to get back at the ex (because it's all about him, right?), because I am bitter, becausse I need revenge.

    No! none of that is the truth. I do this because (a.) I hope it encourages you, and (b) I am a freelance writer and this is one of the ways I support the kids. ;) Thanks so much for reading!

  • Comment Link Annonymous Thursday, 26 June 2014 16:33 posted by Annonymous

    My marriage of 17 years just broke up (we had been together for 20) when I found out my soon to be ex wife was cheating on me with another Woman. I was heartbroken! For 20 years my ex played the care taking wife and mother. The whole thing came as such a shock to me. She was very conflict averse, so I thought everything was happy. I always knew she was emotionally distant, but her whole family is. A lot of her jokes were at my expense, but I tend to laugh at myself anyway, so I laughed it off. I also knew she was very particular on how things were done and would criticize how I did things to the point that I stopped helping her. She was so covert, that I never realized there was a problem until after discovering the affair. Afterward, I search the web for about a month until I found a description of a covert narcissist and suddenly everything made sense. Although I know she probably did much damage to me, I actually don't feel that bad. We met in college when my self-esteem was really low. Thanks to success in my career, my self-esteem improved and I was able to get a Master's degree and begin work on a PhD. She tried to alienate me from my friends and family, but it did not completely work. I would call my parents once a week and she would always say "why are you calling them" and I would say "why do you call your parents?" All in all, she was either a very weak narcissist or I was too independent for her to control.

  • Comment Link bravecharly Wednesday, 25 June 2014 13:45 posted by bravecharly

    It's so true when you talk about how being with a narc eats you from the insides out - that's exactly how it was affecting me before I left my ex. People would constantly comment on how tired & thin I looked. Although it's not been easy these last few months since I left him, I know it was for the best and now it's time to heal. Now it's time to begin life again and embrace every minute! Marye, your stories are very inspiring.

  • Comment Link Carla Tuesday, 24 June 2014 21:38 posted by Carla

    Thank you for sharing this! I thought for a while that I was crazy or something but when I read the part about looking old and ugly and how you got your looks back - i related. only three years of marriage to this awful person and I aged about 10 years! I'm currently in the process of divorce and i'm hoping to experience the other four! :)

  • Comment Link Moakl Tuesday, 24 June 2014 20:30 posted by Moakl

    It’s so uncanny how I feel like I am reading my own story when I read your articles. I too have lived with a broken down mini-van with no heat and no AC (all my fault because I broke it of course.) I have also lived with having my electric or phone shut off and bill collectors showing up at my door. Plus, my narc begins home improvement projects all over the house that he refuses later to finish (all my fault again because I don’t appreciate him or make him happy so he doesn’t want to come home.) I have dealt with the abuse, the cheating, all because of my religion (one therapist who works in my church tried to tell me how to behave so I don’t set my narc off and when he had his latest affair, tried to explain how my narc needs a lot of attention) and because of my fear. But since I finally got the courage to file for divorce and get him out of my house, I sleep better. I look better. I feel better.
    Even though I have miles to go to get the divorce finalized, I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. For years I was just waiting to die in hopes God would reward me with peace. It was another therapist (the one that finally told me my husband was an abuser and I should leave him) that informed me God would not reward me for throwing me life away on a man that doesn’t even appreciate me. “Pearls before swine” is the verse he reminded me about. Yes, I have spent over 20 years throwing my precious pearls before my STBX swine.

  • Comment Link Debbie L. Tuesday, 24 June 2014 14:01 posted by Debbie L.

    Thank you so much for the wonderful encouragement! I just filed for divorce after 20 years...I didn't sooner because I was fearful for all the reasons you listed. Now that the process is in full swing (and yes, there's lots of drama and stress), I actually feel more alive than I have in years, have lost weight, look younger and am doing well. I know this process will come to an end and I will move forward. My kids are also relieved, though there are emotional times because the narc is having an affair with a woman who has kids the same age and he is completely neglecting his own children and they feel replaced, just like I do. However, we feel sorry for his "new family" because they don't know what's coming after the whirlwind honeymoon charm-fest, in which he is the "innocent victim" of an evil wife and such a "great guy." Your articles are helping me so much! Thank you!!

  • Comment Link Sarah Sample Tuesday, 24 June 2014 11:10 posted by Sarah Sample

    This made me cry. Thank you for being so candid. It has been 8 years since I left my abusive marriage with 3 kids in tow and no plan. You describe it beautifully. God Bless~

  • Comment Link marye Tuesday, 24 June 2014 02:36 posted by marye

    Peggy, isn't it weird though? It's been five years and I feel like it was just a bad dream... well I feel like that until I have to write the check to my family lawyer regularly to handle his ongoing shenanigans. :)

  • Comment Link Peggy Nolan Tuesday, 24 June 2014 01:36 posted by Peggy Nolan

    Life is so much better AFTER we figure out that life with a narcissist is totally whacko.

    Been there, done that. And so much happier, wealthier, healthier, and wise :-)