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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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When we divorce a narcissist, kids can often get all confused in the area of LOVE, RESPECT and MONEY.

LOVE:  A narcissist defines love without sacrifice. 

"Think about it, all of your married life you showed love. I define love with sacrifice. "The Beginning Love...." in the beginning, it can be that intense feeling of emotions where you want to spend every moment getting to know the other person. You find yourself consumed with wanting to talk with and be with the other person.  This person appears to be perfect in every way.  This is that puppy love stage that we all love in the movies.  It is the "how we met story." I love loving these puppy love stories.  At some point the movie produces the "And they lived happily ever after."  

"And they lived happily ever after Love...." comes after the puppy/romantic love. There comes these hard times when you realize the other person is flawed.  You adjust your self to protect them in their week areas because love covers all.  It covers all the weakness to make the whole strong.  The other person sees your weakness and does the same. They rely on each other's strength for the good of the whole.  Often children come along and they too need to be protected by both parents for the good of the whole.  Ones weakness are exposed in a safe environment called the family but no one person is so flawed that they cannot be loved. 

"True love requires sacrifice..." Over time there naturally comes a time where sacrifice is required for the sake of the family unit.  A friend of mine didn't take a job in another state because he didn't want to disrupt his child's senior year.  A mom may stay home from work with a sick child.  A child has to learn to share his favorite toy with his brother or sister on a road trip because there are only so many toys you can bring on a road trip.  Sacrifices come in small, medium and large.  Living together as a family in love requires some amount of sacrifice for the good of the whole.

But not with a narcissist.  In the beginning he love bombs with great insincerity getting you to believe something that is not real.  In the happily ever after he blames you and declares you un-loveable because you are so flawed.  In the area of sacrifice: while you are sacrificing yourself for others he is sacrificing others for himself.  He shows no love and the kids are watching.  It looks like love and we ourselves have been fooled for years.  The kids haven't known anything else.  They see dad pretending to love and they see mom actually loving her little heart out while being like a drowning puppy.  And the narc is doing the drowning. But it doesn't look like it because she deserves it, right?  A NARCISSIST by nature does not show true LOVE. 

RESPECT:  At some point that sweet little baby becomes a teenager (drama music for effect please). 

The Narcissist has not shown you any respect through the whole marriage.  A narcissist by nature has to fight and blame someone for his own actions. It is called REFLECTING.  A Narcissist has a personal injury to his inner being that occurred long before you came along.  He believes the world is a dangerous place that he has to protect himself from it, and he most likely believes that others cannot love him. This includes you.  So he will never let his wife or adult kids love him, he will love himself first and sacrifice you in the process.  He will NEVER take responsibility for his own actions.  He cannot admit that he is flawed because then he wouldn't be good enough for himself to love.  He is missing that part in his growing up years or maturity that says the family is a safe place to be loved in spite of our flaws.  He begins to blame you and show you great amounts of disrespect because it has to be your fault that he is so unhappy.  He is unhappy because self-love does not work.  He has not received love from any one but himself and never will.  We are wired to love and be loved.  But a Narc will just not let go; he blames you resulting in protecting himself. 

The teenager is watching.  Dad does not RESPECT mom.  Most dads will say those famous words to a teenager... "Don't speak to your mother that way!" Why? Because a real man knows how much you love and sacrifice and want his son/daughter to show great respect.  Most dad's will say those famous words to a teenager...."You don't have to like what your mother and I are telling you, but you do have to obey (respect) it."  Teens need dads to step in every now and then.  But it has been my experience that the narc is not involved at all or joins in the complaining as if he is one of the kids.  So many of my friends and family have all bridged this gap at one time or another.  The respect gap is critical when dealing with teens, but the narc is often nowhere to be found before, during, or after the divorce.  A NARCISSIST by nature does not show RESPECT. 

MONEY: At some point in marriage or out of marriage the money thing comes up with kids. 

The kids learn how to use money by watching their parents.  Now parents can be a good example or a bad example, but an example just the same.  The kids attitudes towards money may be all over the place because a narcissist models money one-way and you another.  I don't have to tell you how badly your Ex/narcissist has handled his money.  OR how you have handled your money.  My point is children are  watching.  Being sacrificially loving and responsible with your money is not fun!!! But the Narcissist won't so we do because we know the child will suffer if we do not.  A narcissist believes that his money is his money and everyone else's money is his money.  A NARCISSIST by nature prefers money to RELATIONSHIPS.  A NARCISSIST substitutes MONEY for LOVE and has no RESPECT for you.  Your children are watching.  Ask yourself, what are they learning? 

Basically, we have our children’s best interest at heart and our expectations are consistent no matter what they do.  We love them sacrificially with our money and time and we are stable.  Their father cannot be pleased because what he wants keeps changing and he is selfish with his money and his time is spent love bombing.  Secondly, Money and Boundary.  Honey, I love you.  I want to ask all my children what you want and how can I help you do it.  BUT you will not be living off of me in my basement so that you can get a crap job and travel the world.  That is not RESPECTFUL of me and I cannot AFFORD that (money).  They know what I was talking about.  I encourage you to stay consistent in your sacrificial LOVE but don't allow yourself to become a sugar mommy. You are not the blame; you are the solution. 

I encourage you to draw boundaries that encourage RESPECT of you. 

Take any male help to speak into the life of your young person.  If there is no male help, don't be afraid to put on the "father hat" and say those words yourself.  I encourage you to teach your children about money through example.  It doesn't matter how much or how little money you have to work with.  Work ethics and money ethics can be introduced through conversation and example.  The kid will be responsible for his/her own choices eventually and you can have a clear conscience that you were faithful.  You are dealing with a Narcissist father who is not able to teach you children LOVE, RESPECT, and MONEY.  It is your only job to present a different approach that your ex.  I believe that you have great kids like mine and all they need is LOVE and TIME to see the truth.  Hug your kids and you have my utmost RESPECT.   It is what it is and you are doing your best in a difficult situation.  You so got this!

(originally posted by a community member.)

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