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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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You could be married, separated, divorcing, or post-divorce. Happiness is a constant battle, and a narcissist doesn't want you to be happy. He is thinking: how dare she be happy when I am so unhappy.

Happy: It doesn't really matter where you are in the stages of a narcissist.   

The whole concept of the silent treatment revolves around happiness.  You did something that made him unhappy, therefore, he gives you the silent treatment because of your "bad" behavior.  Then you jump through hoops trying to make him happy.  Pretty soon you begin to sacrifice the things that make you happy in order to keep him happy.  Looking back, I see the reason why I got the silent treatment was in fact because I was happy.  He wanted to be the source of my happiness.

He would say something like I will take you to that restaurant on our anniversary.  This would make me so happy.  He would start building up the experience months before our anniversary.  How wonderful it will be.  We will order this or maybe that.  You could wear this or that.  He would wear this or that.  It wasn't just dinner, it was going to be an event.

Then as the day came closer, I’d get the silent treatment.  I did something again.  Now I had to figure out what it was.  Lord forbid that he’d open up his mouth and talk about what was bothering him like a real grown up.  The silent treatment would take away all happiness.  Then the anniversary dinner date would come and go.  Didn't happen.  Then after awhile the silent treatment would end usually with me blowing up like a crazy lunatic.  He liked it when I looked crazy.  He liked pointing his finger and say, "she's crazy" or "all we ever do is fight."

Um, no! I am trying to communicate with a narcissist giving the silent treatment.  He stole my happiness again!  Another ruined anniversary or Thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter or birthday. Then after the event he might again promise the dinner.  Why not? So much fun. He was controlling my happiness. Thank you, thank you, for giving me the event after all.  He promised it, took it away, promised it again, and maybe or maybe not followed through with it. This caused me to be happy then sad then happy etc.  He was completely in control of my happiness or lack there of.

All of this because he was not happy and I was.  "How dare you be happy when I am so unhappy," is the theme of a narcissist. So, if your thanksgiving was ruined don't be surprised. You don't have to be married to the narc either; he can still try to ruin your holiday post-divorce, especially if there are children. 

My holiday this year was in fact happy.  I have been no contact for some time now.  I cooked and no one gave me the silent treatment.  It felt so good.  I kissed my boyfriend really soundly.  He said, "What was that for."  "That was for not complaining about a single thing." I was out of practice.  My meal wasn't as perfect as I would have liked, but this year no one complained about a single thing.  Food and company was very good AND no silent treatment.

Thanks: A narcissist is never really thankful for anything. 

They take you for granted while blame shifting.  They like to blame you for everything that they are guilty of.  Instead of being thankful for your hard work around the holidays and everything you do to make it special, they will pick fights.  You are a bad mother, terrible listener, talk to much, spend money, or there are dirty dishes in the sink.  blah blah blah blah.

The dirty dishes in the sink, to me, that one is the funniest.  Where does he expect me to keep the dirty dishes, in the bathroom?  As long as people eat, there will always be a dirty dish or glass somewhere.  I am notorious for collecting them through out the house and putting them into the sink.  Then when I have a load for the dishwasher, I unload, load, and wash.  Some women like to wash immediately.  There are lots of diverse habits around dishes, laundry, and house cleaning.  But somehow my ex wants to complain "how" the dishes are washed.  He is never thankful that they "are washed." I wash them.  He didn't.  I cooked.  He didn't.  I did laundry.  He didn't. I took kids to school. He didn't etc.  But it was always "how" you did it wrong NOT thankful that you "did it."

You don't have to be married to feel his ungratefulness.  Even post divorce, you can get the blame.  If your mother had paid more attention to me then I wouldn't have had to run off with so and so.  I don't think my ex cheated so I got this one: "If it weren't for your mother, I could have been somebody like a lawyer, a doctor, or a scientist..." It's all foolishness.  Responsibility for ones own action coupled up with thankfulness will equal success every time it is tried. Don't hold out for validation from a narcissist.  It will not happen. I am thankful this thanksgiving.  I have been richly blessed with family and friends and church.  Life is good. 

Giving: This is also something that a narcissist can't really do. 

He can do the action of giving but is that giving action really from the heart?

It amazed me how my ex could be kind to one person with an action and that very same action was meant to be cruel to someone else. 

Post-divorced narcissists like to take the new young thingy or other woman to all of those sentimental places that he used to take you or he promised to take you. It is kind to her but mean to you.

I have noticed that a narcissist can do something nice for one child leaving the others feeling left out.  You find yourself explaining to one child how they should be happy for the other but at the same time you see the injustice of it all.  Triangulation, it is called triangulation.  He is playing one person against another.  It's not really giving. 

The giving action may take place in order for him to look so wonderful. This is a self-serving type of giving.

The problem with giving is the real motives for giving are found within the heart. How do you judge someone's inner motives? Giving is an action. The action takes place but others aren't close enough to see the motives. A husband may give huge gifts around Christmas time to every one but his wife.  Or he may say to his wife, money is tight let's give small gifts to each other.  Then give her a big, public gift.  Isn't he wonderful, and did you see the pathetic gift that "she" gave him.  Why, she doesn't deserve her, right? 

It seems that there is always a game being played with gift giving.

Here's the trick. When raising children who you fear are going to become narcissistic like their father, the cure is giving. If you have a golden child that is turning out like the narcissistic parent, there are three things that you can do to help them turn out all right. 

1. The child needs to have a relationship with their mother. I bet you are a better mom than your mother-in-law was.

2. Say no every now and then.  Help them respect boundaries. 

3. Giving.  It is out of giving that one learns to have some empathy.  You can volunteer in a dog shelter creating empathy for needy creatures that can't help themselves. Or give toys at Christmas time to those who can't provide gifts in these economically hard times.  It helps you have empathy for those down on their luck.  The idea is to give and grow the empathy.  Talk about why you are compelled to give.  Nurture giving and empathy and the child will not be a narcissist.

Happy (post) Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas! A narc makes it difficult but try and be happy anyways. It is the best revenge.

Originally written by a community member here at First Wive's World — a supportive community that cares deeply about your experiences. Register today to share stories about your struggles and victories during divorce.

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4 comments

  • Comment Link Healing magic Monday, 26 December 2016 08:49 posted by Healing magic

    Perfect message on my first post divorce Christmas. I had the kids with me half day and then I went for a walk for 3 hours. I made it without tears. I have woken up with achy legs but reading your post, I can agree that no complains and not been on egg shells my first Christmas in 20 years, felt so nice that I didn't miss company. I did talk few loved ones on phone but didn't want to go meet married friends and be reminded of being lose canon. Solitude can be good too if balanced with right thoughts. Best of all, I have often worried sick if my children be narcissistic but going by your checklist - I am making progress in right direction. Of the many things I am grateful for, having you all on this website (and the website) is truly something I am grateful for. Thank you. Wish you all a happy festive time.

  • Comment Link rowinghome Friday, 16 December 2016 03:58 posted by rowinghome

    WOW such deja vu!!! It's almost scary....no it IS scary. And you are right. Happiness is the best revenge.(even if you fake it)

  • Comment Link LilacPeggy Tuesday, 06 December 2016 01:01 posted by LilacPeggy

    Love this article. I was married to a narc for 37 years. I remember the many times he would pick a fight a couple of days before Thanksgiving and then I would cancel having people over whom we have invited. He LOVED to do this. I never knew he was a narc until we were separated and then divorced. I knew there was something weird happening with him around holidays. I even once, sadly, threw out our entire Thanksgiving meal the day before..yup, turkey and all into the garbage. Of course, I looked like the crazy one which is what he wanted. He did get a devilish grin. He is Jewish and he said therefore I was never allowed to celebrate Christmas or Easter but he still would attack me right before those holidays also. Narcissists are horrible evil people. I'm sorry so many of us threw away our lives for them. I had a wonderful fun Thanksgiving this year with my girlfriends and I have put up a Christmas tree with lights and ornaments!!!
    :-)

  • Comment Link Lunar2015 Monday, 05 December 2016 16:38 posted by Lunar2015

    This is an excellent article! Especially the point about how children must have a relationship with their mothers and that we are much better moms than our Narc Ex's moms were. Very true!