To say, “Leaving a narcissist is hard“, might just qualify as the understatement of the year. You will- without a doubt- endure the most vile, and very public, smear campaigning of your life- among other various punishments. And, while you might be tempted to exhaust yourself, trying to convince everyone of your innocence… don’t. It’ll be a waste of your time, and what precious, little energy you’ve got left. Besides, the truth will always out. Trust me.
A narcissist’s vindictiveness is almost always traumatic and, not to be underestimated. Ever. If you’re planning to leave a narcissist/psychopath, make sure you have a detailed plan to do so SAFELY!
The minute I had my safe escape plan in place, I made my move.
A little over a year ago, I’d finally reached a place where I felt safe enough, and strong enough, to start backing away from my marriage. I had been working hard at healing the exhausting symptoms of C-PTSD (Complicated Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) in myself, and diligently practicing all my deactivating & detachment strategies. I had been working, daily, on becoming my own source of love, acceptance, peace & joy. I released all the pain & misery I’d endured (at the hands of the one person I trusted the most to love & protect me), on a daily basis.
I was as ready as I’d ever be. So, a few days after Thanksgiving 2015, I told my husband that he had until the new year to either SHOW (with ACTION) that he was serious about healing his narcissism, or we would have to separate. I couldn’t endure his abuse any longer. It was, literally, killing me. Slowly and painfully.
He had promised to change… 1,000,001 times.
He promised to put serious effort into his healing. He promised to commit to the exercises, in the program we had bought for him. He swore, on his life, that he would heal, so he could be a safe and loving member of our family. But he never so much as looked at the box the program came in. Why are we not surprised, right?
Over and over he “apologized” for not putting the effort into his own personal growth and healing. Over and over he swore he would stop- it was hard for him. He admitted that he was so ashamed of how he treated me. He didn’t blame me for being upset. He could see how degrading and insulting his behavior was.
Unfortunately, he blamed all our problems on ME… 1,000,002 times.
In the very next second (meaning, when I actually expected him to back up his “apologies” with ACTION), he was cruel, nasty, hateful, and contemptuous. I would tell him, “Fine. Let’s simply be amicable, then. We can live out the dying days, of this farce of a marriage, in relative peace.”
But no, he had to win. He just lashed out harder- and with more venom. It was the nastiest, and most hateful, I had ever seen him. I confess, It was more than a little frightening. Ultimately, it all boiled down to the fact that his pride was on the line. I didn’t stand a chance against that. Neither did our family.
In the end, he ripped our family apart to save his pride.
Living with a narcissist is a whole lot like living with Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.
Or, like being in the movie The Exorcist. One moment, you’re talking to a sweet, loving human being… The next, it’s demons, spinning heads, and projectile vomit. No joke. I’m not exaggerating. Not even a little.
One minute you’re holding a grown man, while he cries, and tells you how sorry he is for all his cruelty. He doesn’t deserve your forgiveness, much less your love. The next minute, that same man is slandering you to everyone he knows, and telling you (to your face) that YOU are mentally unstable, and YOU punish him for not doing every little thing you wanted him to do. (Is YOUR head spinning yet?)
When you leave a narcissist, though, there’s no more Jekyll. There’s only Hyde.
Once my husband realized that, this time, I wasn’t going to go running back to him, the gloves came off. Instantly, his whole M.O. changed. I was Narcissist Enemy #1, and he wasn’t pulling any punches. Immediately, he began stalking, harassing, threatening, and provoking. And, the smear campaigning descended from fucked up, to being truly, and sickeningly, vile.
I can’t begin to describe how hurtful, insulting, humiliating, and degrading it is to be maliciously smeared by someone who claimed (and, STILL, TO THIS DAY CLAIMS) to love, and care for, you so much. But, perhaps, even worse- is the sheer madness of being smeared, having people you counted as family, and friends, actually believe the horrible lies, and knowing there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.
When it comes to getting their revenge, narcissists are relentless. And ruthless.
My husband had a fucking field day spreading his filth about me. He posted on Facebook, lamented about his “crazy, drug-addict wife” to anyone with ears, and even went so far as to record all the most heinous of his accusations, for posterity, in public record. It was awful.
People I loved, and thought of as family, suddenly hated me. People I thought of as friends, stopped speaking to me. People who, I thought, knew me… sat next to my husband, in court, while he tried to take custody of our children from me.
There was no way for me to defend myself. My only defense, against the outrageous things my husband said about me, sounded just as outrageous (even though it was the truth). Anything I said, would have only served to make me look guilty-as-charged. Or, crazier than all these people already thought I was.
Your means of defending yourself, against the narcissist’s attacks, are paltry, exhausting, and inadequate. At best.
Legally speaking, my husband committed the crimes of libel, slander, and defamation of character. All 1st degree misdemeanors and punishable with jail time. Also, he was guilty of stalking, harassment, aggravated stalking, trespassing, peeping Tom-ing (don’t know the actual name for that crime-LOL), threatening bodily harm to myself and a member of my family, attempted breaking-and-entering, perjury, malicious litigation, abuse of process, making false statements on a public record, making false police reports, and grand theft. Also, all crimes, ranging from 1st degree misdemeanors, to 1st degree felonies.
Technically, it should have been easy for me to call local law enforcement and have him picked up. In reality, though, there was no way to criminally prosecute. For ANY of his many crimes. I know. I tried. Such is our legal system.
My only option would be to file more court paperwork, attend more hearings, etc., etc. I am still pursuing recourse through civil court but, back then, a motion in civil court did nothing to stop the smearing. I believe, quite strongly, that there needs to be some change in the way these types of cases are handled. But, again, my wishes for future-change helped me not one bit.
As agonizingly hard as it would be, I decided to just keep my mouth shut.
I could FEEL the hateful, angry, and judgmental energy, coming at me from all sides. I hated it. I’d never been in a situation where someone was angry with me, or disliked me, and I didn’t immediately do everything possible to make it right. At that point, I had dozens of people angry at me, or judging me. And, being an empath, I could FEEL it.
But, I did nothing. I said nothing. I just kept to myself and, above all else, focused my energies on protecting my kids. I was not going to stoop to defending myself against allegations that were so disgusting, and vicious. At least, I wasn’t going to try to defend myself to people who were, obviously, dead-set on believing the lies, regardless of the facts.
It was hard, to put it mildly. Everything in my being wanted to gather all these people together, and bust out all my binders of evidence that proved I was innocent of all charges. I desperately wanted them to see the trut; that my husband was, in fact, the guilty party.
But, I refrained. Though, doing so almost drove me crazy. Part of the whole supposed “co-dependent” thing is that you can’t handle people not being happy with you.
In the end, it was my faith that got me through the storm.
I knew that narcissists might be great at putting on the charm but, it never lasts. They can’t keep up the act for long. Eventually, the mask slips. Always. And, when it did, I told myself “Some people are going to owe me a pretty, damn big apology”. (Not that I believed, for one second, I’d ever really get those apologies. Still, knowing they were deserved, was good enough for me.)
I took comfort in the fact that I KNEW the truth. And, so did my closest, and dearest friends. The friends who- when my husband tried to email them, begging them to help him protect the kids from me- refused to even dignify his lies with a response. The friends who didn’t even ask me if anything he said was true; they knew me and, knew I wasn’t capable of the things he said. Thank God for true friends.
Months and months went by, and I endured the continuing onslaught of harassment, punishment, and lies. Anytime I felt the urge to defend myself, I reminded myself that I didn’t need to waste my time and energy. My husband would fuck himself, all by himself.
“The truth will always out,” was my mantra.
Then, on January 11, 2017- the truth finally came out and, my unwavering faith was rewarded (so to speak).
On a totally normal Wednesday morning, I got a very interesting phone call, from my mother. Her tone was serious. She said she needed to tell me something but, she didn’t want me to freak out. Ohh…Kaaaaay.
“Are you sitting down?” She asked me.
“Yes, mom. What is it? What’s going on? You’re kind of scaring me.” I replied.
“Well. I need to talk to you about your husband.” She continued, irritatingly cryptic.
To be continued…
Sorry, the post was already too long… LOL
~The Narcissist’s Wife
(Footnote: C/PTSD is not a joke. It can, too-often, lead to serious illness, death, and/or suicide. If you can relate to any of the following symptoms, PLEASE, seek out a qualified professional to help you: obsessive/repetitive thinking; nightmares; the reliving of traumatic moments in the relationship as if they were happening in the present; panic attacks; drinking, drug abuse, or other addictions, used as a means of “numbing”; significant weight loss; insomnia, or excessive sleeping; extreme irritability; avoiding certain places, people, activities, music, scents, etc., because they remind you of the narcissist, or a specific event; being easily triggered, and reacting in extreme ways- i.e. calling/texting excessively, following your partner when they leave the house, rifling through their belongings, checking their phone/email/texts, listening in on their phone calls, etc.)