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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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I find that my apathy is 100 times stronger now than it was a year ago. I have been reading about cultivating indifference and have joked that this is the year that God gifted me with: "It is the year of I don't care." And I don't. It is weird and sometimes unnatural. I read your stories here and feel your pain and remember when, but it’s weird. I feel your pain but I don't feel mine anymore. I care about your pain, but I feel no more pain for myself. It's 100 percent gone. Here is a great article on Narcissistic Abuse Recovery.

I am no longer confused, crying, angry, bitter, looking for validation and understanding, regretting, arguing, or struggling against the "triggered events of the narc." So, how do you bast navigate through and beyond the process of divorce with a narcissist? Here's what I've learned, along with some links to some very helpful articles.

I. The Everyday Journey:  

"Whether with a narcissist a week, a month, a year, a decade, or a half of a century, one thing for sure... one day you will wake up to the revelation that it was all just a figment of your imagination." - Tigress Luv.

1. Get divorced: High conflict, narc like, complicated, unfairly balanced into his narrative, taking too long, blaming game DIVORCE.  Whatever Narcissist does, doesn't matter eventually you will get divorced. Here are 8 tips for dealing with a narcissist, and a great piece on how to deal with a narcissist in court.

2. The Divorce Decree: This is just a suggestion to a narcissist.  It is the basis for more twisted games.  It is not an order.  It is the rulebook for the next game.  It is about what you can get the court to enforce.  It gives a narcissist an insight into what is rightfully yours and begins his new game.  The new game is about denying you what is rightfully yours.  He makes you unhappy.  You are left to choice between trying to get the court to enforce it or just letting him get away with it.  It usually depends on your energy, money for a lawyer, and time.  No decision is right or wrong.  But a narcissist puts you into an uncomfortable decision by not following court orders. This is also a relationship: "Ironically, if the narcissist sees that you don't love him anymore he will then be intent on making you hate him.  Either way, he will feel powerful in his complete control over you. The one thing that narcissists can't stand is apathy towards him." - Tigress Luv.

3. The Children: The narcissist plays games with the rotation schedule or completely abandons them. I haven't decided which one is worse.  It is heartbreaking to deal with children who know that a parent has abandoned them. On the other hand, a narcissist uses children as a tool to hurt and manipulate you.  They triangulate by telling one person one thing and you another and then watch the two of you fight over the information that he "fed" to the both of you. It can be teachers, mutual friends, family members, and children that are used to triangulate. Then they have the golden child, the scapegoat child and others may simply be discarded. The narcissist likes to turn the children against you.  Then there is the fear that your child will become a narcissist too.  The children may want dad and hate you.  The children dad and want you. The rotation schedule becomes a game as well. With the terms of parent alienation being thrown around or full custody or abusive parents.  It becomes about making you, the kids, or whoever do whatever they don't want to do: control.

Narcissistic supply:  Here is a great piece explain what narcissistic supply is. Also, a great site and organization for support for children with a narcissistic parent - ACON's Adult Children of Narcissistic parents. Often times a counselor is need for you and the kids in order to navigate or minimize the damage and chaos that comes with a narcissist. Many times a lawyer and a judge become routine. You are trying to raise a family while he is sabotaging on purpose for his own entertainment.  

II. The Decision Journey

1. At some point you decide to actively pursue no contact. 

No contact is a very interesting thing. It does two things, it gives you the room to heal and at the same time it is the greatest revenge on the narcissist. What does a narcissist feel about no contact? He feels the rejection of no contact deeper than he feels your anger, or hurt.  It simply says no more narcissistic supply.  It says that you will not play any more games.  It is ending the relationship.

Narcissists enjoy your pain. "The more you show the narcissist your tears the more grandiose they will feel. If you really want to make the narcissist feel all powerful, simply let him break you." ~ Tigress Luv. Or you must go NO CONTACT. It looks like the silent treatment, but it is not. It is more. The silent treatment is given to get a reaction out of you, to manipulate you, to punish you, and/or to control you. The no contact is given to end the relationship. I remember having read about no contact and then taking several months to actually decide on whether to do it or not. No contact takes practice. It is gray rock when you have children or are continually in court. But either way, full or partial no contact can be your best defense.

2. Rest assured, at some point you will decide to heal. So what is the healing process? The stages of healing are explained here in this article, but they are: The Road Kill Stage, The Realization Stage, The Anger Stage, The Taking Affirmative Action Stage, The Fall Out Stage, The Mirroring Stage, and The Realization and Apathy Stage. The stages or recovery from a narcissist's abuse are explained thoroughly here.

Conclusion: I have done all of these stages. I have been gifted the year of "I don't care." I am hoping that it is all over for me at the end of this custody court case. Oh, I expect Narcissistic Shenanigan's (that should be a psych term) to continue as long as he is breathing. But my hope is that they won't have anything to do with me, and if they do, I will continue to not care. My prayer for you is that you cultivate your indifference and apathy when it comes to him. Even though it feels unnatural, put your no contact on the best you can. No Contact is what produces Apathy. Freedom! Happy Healing (if you can), Time is your best friend, one stage at a time, you can get there. You are doing the very best you can in a very difficult situation and your best is good enough. I don't say these things flippantly, I lived there. 

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  • Comment Link movingon56 Wednesday, 23 August 2017 00:00 posted by movingon56

    Thanks for this piece.It is very sobering to know other people have gone through this too. A lot of what you describe in here is very similar to my own experience with divorcing the ex narc right down to having his favorite golden child who he turned against me and discarding our youngest because he sided with me. My ex used divorce court or "family court" as a theatrical platform to basically do whatever he wanted and he was never held responsible for anything while I was put under the microscope on everything.

  • Comment Link Walter Wednesday, 09 August 2017 15:38 posted by Walter

    Thank you for these resources. My narc ex-wife has taken my children from me, and it's the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with. After five years of fighting and getting nowhere, I am forced to begin cultivating indifference to my sons. I hate that I have to do this, but for the last five years, my grief has consumed me. Indifference to my own children is the only thing that will let me live again.

  • Comment Link Geni Friday, 17 February 2017 03:48 posted by Geni

    Agreed is all I have to say

  • Comment Link Tracy Tuesday, 14 February 2017 02:37 posted by Tracy

    I use indifference, silence, mirroring & untruths to wean my hoovering narc out of my life.
    He has followed the documented pattern, this did shock me I genuinely thought he was smarter more original.
    I'm into my final phase, it's sending me messages meant for a friend, did you try andvring me. I've had the heart attack. I've changed and so on.
    I leave responding if at all for over a week so no conversation can happen.
    I'm proud of myself for following the advice, been incredible to observe these tactics from afar.
    My next hoover is due very soon they're regular small talk enquiries I'm not giving him anything to help direct the manipulations.

  • Comment Link ShazzaMK Tuesday, 31 May 2016 20:54 posted by ShazzaMK

    Thank you for this article and the links.

  • Comment Link vshea Monday, 23 May 2016 15:20 posted by vshea

    Thanks for another great site for recovering from Narcs. I thought my husband was a severe co-dependent but realize, now, since he has no intention of healing his inner wounds nor of taking accountability for his actions, he is much closer to a narc than a co-dependent. Another great site that is helping me move past the hurt and to realize I was just an innocent by-stander -- in the wrong place at the wrong time -- is melanietoniaevans -- My narc needs a source to suck energy from and project his issues onto -- and my co-dependence made me a wonderful 'victim'. But I am no longer being a victim. I have a transitional place (after 32 years of marriage to this man), with plans for an apartment for one year, then a house. Thanks again for the new website.

  • Comment Link Happiness is Peace Wednesday, 18 May 2016 18:17 posted by Happiness is Peace

    Thank you for this article as it was well timed for me as well! I am "doing it right" and finally on the brink of "I don't care". My NARC Ex has turned my 2 kids against me. They are grown and both graduated college. They chose not to be in touch with me while Disney Dad gives them a life of leisure and travel. And NARC Ex also has been working on my mother who then decides to take his side! Some days are very hard for me to navigate ~ new life and trying to find a decent job. I have been very angry but realize every day gets better.

  • Comment Link Elisabeth Villotti Sunday, 15 May 2016 09:56 posted by Elisabeth Villotti

    Powerful, empowering article. Thank you! x Perfect timing and reading for me.

  • Comment Link Olive72 Thursday, 05 May 2016 22:04 posted by Olive72

    Please, GOD, let me get to indifference!