I don't know where to start.
6 June 2018 at 12:41 pm #11878
this is my first post and I have been typing and deleting a hundred times already…
I am thinking of separating after a 12 years long marriage. I was 22 when I got married and I am a different person now. We have done therapy for a few months and what came up was that he has a narcissistic personality and I have a dependant one. But in the last couple of years I woke up and I am much more independent psychologically now.
I got to the conclusion that we have to separate and it hurts a lot. He is a good father, but I am dying inside in this marriage. I am not happy and I don’t want the children to think that this is what relationships are like.
I haven’t spoken openly about my decision to my husband because I am scared. I am scared of making a mistake and I’m scared I am going to ruin my children’s lives.
I feel sad and lost.
I need to find the courage to do this.6 June 2018 at 2:52 pm #11885
I divorced my Narcissistic partner and never looked back. It does take courage and strength and my child has not suffered as a result. He sees what is acceptable and what is not based on my choices. Although the start is tough, legal advice would be a good point so as you know where you stand too. Only you can know if this is right for you. Be brave. Lots of luck.6 June 2018 at 3:27 pm #11887
How did you end up in therapy to begin with? Presumably you already discussed the issues at hand that were making you unhappy to get to that stage? If so you need to end it if you are still feeling this way, the sooner the better otherwise the longer it goes on the worse it will be. If you haven’t discussed all that is making you unhappy perhaps that’s a start and whatever will be will be. If you don’t talk to him though there is no hope so you may as well end it. Communication is vital.8 June 2018 at 12:59 pm #11938
while I cant comment on the personality traits, I left my daughters father because I had come to feel hollow, lifeless, worthless. not through his fault as such, but it wasnt right. and like you, I worried about the effect on our daughter. after a long time worrying, questioning and crying, I finally plucked up the courage to say it out loud to him and surprisingly, he agreed.
It isnt easy, but itl be the best thing youve done in a long time. my belief is that to be the best parent you can be, you need to set an example. and sometimes that means being a bit selfish. if you are unhappy, set the example that you deserve to be happy. Your child will pick up on that happiness. therefore, you will be doing a good thing by them in the long run.
I am now 4 years away from that decision and not once have I ever looked back. I am now studying to begin a new career to provide a better future for me and my daughter, and her father is happily married with a 10 month old daughter. a few of his family hated me for a long time, but when i visited a couple years ago at her fathers wedding (she was flower girl, and they live a 7hour drive away), i was apologised to and actually thanked for the decision I had made. In the end, I was able to show that my decision had been for the best for everyone involved.
so, you could be surprised by what happens next, you have the courage inside you to take that next step, your first step was coming here to raise your concerns xx11 June 2018 at 10:56 am #11995
Hi, Thank you all for your replies. I had a little chat with him on that day and said I wasn’t seeing the progress I was looking for when we started the therapy. He wasn’t surprised, but his reaction was to ask me for a list of things I think don’t work in our relationship so that he could prove one by one I was wrong on all of them. It’s impossible to have a conversation like this. For the past 3 years we had a lot of arguments and I haven’t been happy, so it’s not like he wouldn’t see it coming. But I think in his world he’s convinced I would never be bold enough to leave him. It is part of the narcissistic personality, after all..When I tell him I am thinking of leaving, he gets all nice and says all the right things… for about 2 weeks. This is why I agreed to do therapy: I thought maybe he really cared and he really wanted to fix things. I also believe that I would be setting the right example for my children in the long term. But I am also sure that he’ll try whatever he can to show the world, and our children, how wrong I am and what a huge mistake I am making in leaving him. He will make them think I broke the family. He is very manipulative.12 June 2018 at 1:41 pm #12006
My ex wouldn’t even agree to couples therapy, she was cold as ice, wouldn’t communicate. Then finally it came out, despite everything, having to move 300 miles to care for her mum, ( I didn’t mind that) leaving my family behind, re starting my business, I found out she was cheating.
See if you can both go to couples therapy if he means it. At least some basic truths will come out!13 June 2018 at 10:26 am #12037
Hi Sestrel, we have tried therapy – we’ve been going for the past 7 months – but I am as unhappy as I was when we started. It is not productive unless you are actually willing to change the dynamics in the couple. He did it for a bit and then he went straight to behaving the same old way… I am tired because I always invest a lot emotionally in these attempts to save the marriage and then I fall back in the same sad place. I don’t think he is cheating, but I guess most of the people don’t see it coming…14 June 2018 at 9:23 am #12071
Having been in a controlling relationship for 10 years I got out, after she got abusive, to both my daughter and I quite an extreme example to compare to yours maybe, we did go to therapy it didn’t change things for very long. I asked for more therapy about 1 year after the last, then a year later things got intolerable. Communication only works when honest feelings go both ways I found she wouldn’t admit her controlling behaviour, didn’t do some of the changes that were promised, this ultimately led to me doing way too much in the relationship, that in the end I was and am far better on my own looking after my daughter.
Take stock of all the good and balance with the bad. Its also worth imagining how your life would be different, there will be challenges to being single, finances will be difficult, time will be short, but you will have peace, and at some point make new friends, partner and life moves on.
I should add my daughter is so much happier in general, better at school, calmer, better routine and I know it was the right decision for me, all the best to you.18 June 2018 at 9:56 am #12273
Thank you Abbeydad, I think what is stopping me is that my daughters at the moment are happy. They’re doing great at school/nursery. I can already see he is starting being controlling with them, too. But they are happy when we are all together. So in a way, I’d be altering a situation where my children are fine.
Finances are a huge concern of mine. I am a EU citizen (kids are British citizens) and I would be entitled to British citizenship which I currently cannot afford to pay for (it’s over 1K), but I might need to ask for benefits to support us for a while and the political uncertainty worries me because he will always be able to support our daughters, I wouldn’t without benefits… I am so confused.18 June 2018 at 5:34 pm #12290
This is my first post also. If I can offer any advice it would be this.
I am 2 1/2 years out of my marriage and while it has been and continues to be extremely hard on occasions – it was absolutely the best decision. You mention that you believe your husband may have NPD or at least be somewhere on the spectrum and you yourself perhaps a little codependent. That was myself and my husband without a shadow of a doubt. Any fears you may have surrounding control (in my experience and over the mammoth tons of literature I’ve researched) will only escalate. You will live your life on eggshells waiting and hoping for a better tomorrow which may never come. narcissistic people rarely change. If you feel like you’ve lost part of yourself, you question your decisions, you argue your point with kindness worry and depth for it only to be met with a lack of empathy, anger coldness and a twisting of reality – then you’re probably being not only gaslit but you’re with a controlling person. You’re in this horrible phase of knowing something isn’t quite right, trying to keep the peace for yourself and your daughters, but balancing that fine line will leave you exhausted. You will apologise even when it’s not your fault thinking you’re keeping the peace, being the adult, smoothing over something that was brewing. That however will give him even more entitlement and you will be left feeling less than before. I emplore you to seek some professional help on two counts. 1. In this country, with the right legal support, you will be able to look after your daughters 2. Speak to someone who really understands NPD so that you can start to make sense of it all and know how to deal with it. Someone once said to me ‘readjust your expectations’ each and every time you interact with a narcissist, limit your exposure to any ability for them to chip away at you even more.
You will get through this and you will come out of the other side healthier, happier having more strength than you thought ever existed in you.
Protect yourself and your daughters. They will be fine as long as you’re ok. Your husband will always have a relationship with them if he reacts in the way he should – if not they will grow to learn that he is who he is and with careful guidance they will know that they needn’t be defined by it
i wish you every good fortune and hope for your future.
For anyone who reads this and thinks I’m simply bashing my ex husband – I’m not. We still have a good relationship – carefully managed – he still has a sense of a relationship with our daughter and I try my best to remember times when we were happy. I wish him well.25 June 2018 at 10:16 am #12559
Thank you RichJA, I think your description of the situation is spot on. It is comforting to know that you are still able to have a relationship with him and he is still being a father. I need to find the strength to make a decision on how to proceed. Yes, I am tired but I woke up and I can’t reverse it. Once you see these patterns, you cannot “unsee” them anymore, if it makes sense.27 June 2018 at 12:41 pm #12749
Hi Valina. You’re absolutely right, you can’t Unsee them, and in all likelihood they will get worse. You need to do what’s best for you long term.