Sunday, February 28, 2016

THE “RELIGIOUS” NARCISSIST….


If you have had the unfortunate experience of being in a relationship with a narcissist with religious pretensions, you know how difficult and confusing it can be. The narc spouts scripture and postures as “holy”, and they use religion to create a veneer of “godliness”.

Now, I've read various articles on the topic that seem to miss the point, which is, that a religious narcissist will just drive you crazy with their constantly letting you know how much better they are than you, or anyone else, for that matter. There is no situation for which they won't butt in with some scripture quote, and no conversation that won't soon turn into a sermon, just to let you know that while you have mundane, everyday concerns like whether you need to buy milk, their mind is on “the things of God”.

This only serves to prove that there is NOTHING that the narcissist can't screw up and make a mess of.
Even the fairly normal process of raising kids becomes so darn tedious when you have to listen to the religious BS, when you're really talking about the homecoming game and dance.

Why does the narcissist act so religious when they are in fact immoral, liars, and abusive? Well, what better a facade than that? They certainly fool a lot of people, as we find out during a divorce, when the narcissist has been having an affair and manages to convince those in their congregation that YOU ARE THE PROBLEM, and that you are impeding their ability to “serve God”.

I was personally stunned by the reaction of the congregation to my NarcX...they believed EVERYTHING she had to say, including that I was the abusive one, and that I was dangerous and mentally unstable, despite the fact that NOTHING I had ever done would make anyone believe that....and given that my NarcX was the abusive one, was abusing alcohol and drugs, was cheating, lying, and not coming home until very late, and then, drinking or drunk. I had to leave the congregation and go elsewhere.

My religious preference is that of a main stream Christian, and to me, if being a Christian doesn't mean actually doing as we are taught in the Bible, then it means nothing. And, my NarcX was a great one for knowing the words, quoting the bible, and acting like she was very conservative in her religious and moral behavior, but doing the VERY OPPOSITE. You know, the whole love thy neighbor thing? She wasn't interested. The sick, the poor, the down trodden, the hurting....not interested. What was she interested in? She was interesting in how people saw her...she wanted to be thought to be a good person and a devout Christian while being the very opposite.

It doesn't matter the religion, however. My NarcX converted to Reform Judaism, and I supported that, hoping she'd actually follow the teachings and change her life....I was very naive. In her life, she has also been a Baptist, a Methodist, a Lutheran, an Episcopalian, and a Catholic, at one time or another, and she always managed to adopt the OUTWARD FORMS of her current religious interest as an act without actually making any inner changes.

I could never understand how she could go to services, read the Bible, spout the verses, and yet, lie, cheat, and be abusive. The most distressing thing was how she brow beat our children using religion. As usually happens, our children became openly hostile to all religion as a result. My son, now that he lives with my now wife and I is starting to explore spirituality again. Yet, here we have a Bible verse that says if you lead a little one astray, it would be better for you if you had a rock tied around your neck and were thrown into the ocean. But, none of that had any effect on the narcissist.

And, by the way, the narcissist NEVER FELT GUILT for lying or cheating, or anything else, for that matter, and now I know that narcissists never do. Keep in mind that my NarcX hammered me legally for over 9 years, and filled the court will the most horrid and absurd lies, intentionally suing me again and again with the express purpose of destroying me and my finances, and trying to make sure my son had no father, while protecting a monstrous abuser in her own home.

Anyway, that's my experience with a religious narcissist. I bet you've got some stories you can add to these, and we'd be glad to read them, so post them below. I also know of others who have had similar experiences. One day, my wife and I looked over, across the church, and saw the ex husband of a friend, who had taken most of the assets in the marriage and hid them, and kept his ex wife, our friend, in court for 7 long years, at huge expense, rather than equitably share what they had accumulated during their marriage.

Why he was there? I couldn't imagine. Who did he think he was fooling? God? If so, that was very foolish, indeed.

12 Steps to Recovery: If Addiction is addiction...Recovery is Recovery

Image result for 12 steps logo




The Recovery from Abusive Relationships 12 Steps
(adapted from the AA Twelve Steps)


Step 1 - Admit powerlessness

The fact is that most victims, for whatever reason, have lost the power of choice in an abusive relationship. Our so-called willpower becomes practically non-existent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even an hour, day or a week ago. We are without defense against the control of the abuser. Our learned fear and lack of self-esteem keeps us trapped. We are unsure we are seeing things as they really are, unsure we can survive on our own, unsure what move to make. We are POWERLESS and our lives are out of control. We must really see that in order to move forward.


Step 2 - Believe that we can recover

When we examine our world, our belief system, we must recognize that there is a power that can help us survive. The abuser is not powerful, that is an illusion. What power do we TRULY believe can help us to survive? It may be God or any number of variations… or it may be love, a group, family, morality, a therapist, the universe, etc. It does not matter what it is. We feel powerless so we MUST find something we feel is more POWERFUL to depend on for support. Most of us have tried to rely upon will power and reason…and we have not been successful.

Step 3 - Turn over will and power

When we are absolutely convinced that we CAN survive… we must be willing to take the steps needed to survive. These steps can be very difficult and painful. If we rely on our own power…we will falter. We must decide the right step to make and become utterly determined to do it…. without second guessing or looking back.


Step 4 - See ourselves for what we are

Once the decision is made, we must be very fearless in discovering how we GOT HERE. What was it, about OUR NATURES, that allowed this to happen to us? This is NOT taking responsibility for the abuser’s actions, but seeking out what OUR PART was so that it will not happen again.


Step 5 - Admit our shortcomings

 If we are faith based, (religious) we hear, over and over, that all that we require for God’s forgiveness is to believe we need it and seek his forgiveness. To admit to him our flaws and what we have done wrong…to claim our faults and try to do better. That may, indeed, be all that is needed to obtain God’s forgiveness (if that is your belief system) BUT, for most people, it takes much more to forgive YOURSELF. If you admit how very IMPERFECT you are to yourself (and perhaps to God) you are STILL hiding away secrets. There is still shame. Deep inside we can still believe that we are not good enough. If others KNEW THE TRUTH, they would abandon us. If we do not overcome this shame, we are always more likely to feel inferior and to attract abusers. KNOWING our issues is not enough. Feeling the shame is not enough because it festers. In order to heal we must tell someone else all the things which cause us shame. It is not necessary to tell EVERYONE and not advisable to choose a member of your family, a clergyman or anyone else who cannot understand what you have been through. Some people consider this a humbling experience. I found it very freeing. 

Step 6 - Become ready to let these go

The fact that someone could know ALL my guilty secrets, understand I am imperfect and still find me worthy of respect and love. Once we admit how very bad it got…it is far less likely we will go back. You must be willing to burn the final bridge to your illusion and commit to moving forward. Time to use the power of the truth to push you in the right direction instead of hiding in the shame that pulls you back. 


Step 7 - Ask for help in taking these away

There must be a decision that you have no desire to live that way again and admitting that to someone else gives you accountability. 


Step 8 - Make a list of all those we have harmed

There are many people we have harmed. Family members, friends and even strangers…while we were caught up in the lies and delusion of the abuser. Our children (if we have children) typically are at the top of that list. By thinking back to each person and becoming aware of just how much harm was done, we can see that we did not suffer alone and that we are NOT doomed to be victims. We can become survivors and advocates and embrace that power.

Step 9 - Make amends

  It is important to do what we can to make amends and admit to these people that we did made unwise decisions, lied, closed our eyes and that WE did things that may have harmed them. We must take responsibility for OUR actions and do our best to repair those damages. This can be important in the healing of the people harmed. After all, most of us wanted this from the abuser…and they will never give it to us. CLOSURE and admission of the harm caused... admission of the wrongs we have done, validation of the harm that WE caused (no matter why we did this or what reasons there were for our actions) and a sincere apology…without excuses or blaming someone else.

Step 10 - Monitor our behavior and admit when we are wrong

We must continue to evaluate our actions and motives daily to make sure that we are not slipping into the patterns of the abuser or becoming “victims” once again…blaming others for our issues. We must always be open to the loving guidance or views of those we trust without becoming angry and defensive.


Step 11 - Remain centered by meditation, prayer and self-reflection

 Spending time examining our own lives, thoughts and actions. Meditation, relaxation or prayer helps to keep us in the realization that we are not unique or entitled…but that there are many people exactly like us…no better and no worse. We must BELIEVE we can heal and that we DESERVE to be loved and accepted, just as we are.

Step 12 - Carry the message to others who suffer

 There is no better way to stay mindful of where you were, and why you do not EVER want to go back, than reaching out to help others who have had a common experience. It keeps us fully aware that we are NOT “embellishing” or “dramatizing” the abuse. It keeps us from putting on rose-colored glasses and engaging in remembering “the good times” that our minds can manufacture. It may also help another victim escape to become a survivor! It takes a terrible period in our lives and gives that suffering some purpose and meaning.


Friday, February 26, 2016

All the "Petty" Complaints of the Abuse Victim....

All those "petty" complaints....



In my opinion, one of the most challenging 
aspects of dealing with an N is what has been referred to by experts as their use of "the subtle and powerful tool of suggestion". 

In speaking to others...if you could give them examples of things such as my personal RED FLAGS....  most would EASILY identify the fact that there is SOMETHING wrong in the relationship. 

The problem is, at least in MY situation, the vast majority of the damage and my subliminal knowledge of where I stood in the relationship was communicated to me in much more subtle ways and on a CONTINUOUS basis. 

You know, those LITTLE things that happen on a DAILY basis and those things that, when you choose to attempt to communicate to an "outsider", are perceived to be "petty" and "unimportant".

For instance....

Whenever we were riding in the car, he would control the music. If a song came on that he liked he would turn up the volume. The longer you were in the car the louder the music got. With each song that came on that he liked...the volume would INCREASE to the point where conversation was not possible. Each song would begin the same.

As the music started...he would clear his throat. That was the signal that he was about to grace you with his singing. (He HAD to clear his throat to make sure his pitch was "perfect" (not) and he was amply able to emote his chosen song.

I have always LOVED to sing. When I was about 14 I happened to hear a recording of my voice and come to the embarrassing conclusion that, while it sounded to me like I was precisely hitting each note while I was singing it....it was not so in the ears of the LISTENER! 

In other words "I can't carry a tune in a bucket."

Over the years, in a million ways, my N had insinuated as much to me and I began to refrain from singing. This is so with all my children as well. The ONLY one who sang was the N. There was no thought on his part that he might not be able to sing EITHER. 

OF COURSE he could SING! 

I even heard him say, on rare occasions, "I don't care how I sound I just LIKE to sing!” But, based on his throat clearing and other observations...this was obviously not what he TRULY thought. He was simply throwing that in to feign some false modesty.

So the music in the car would become louder and louder and LOUDER as the songs progressed....each song preceded by the requisite "clearing of the throat". It was an ingrained pattern that drove me crazy in the late stages of the relationship. Why?

Occasionally, a song would come on that I LIKED and he did not.  When this would happen...
I could predict the result. 
He would suddenly have a need to communicate some critical piece of information that had not occurred to him in the 20 miles prior....and the volume would be lowered to a barely audible level....or the music would be turned off completely. 

I was able, in the end, to exactly PREDICT this behavior. Several times I ACTUALLY set it up. I would put on a song that I liked and WAIT to see him find a reason to turn it off! 
HEY! 
I HAD to entertain myself some way!

Sometimes he would drop the fa├žade and simply SKIP through the songs I liked. The times I objected...he acted as though it was the pettiest thing he had ever heard! 

He would say I was "Just trying to pick a fight" etc. etc.

So I stopped objecting.

In a similar vein...the TV and/or movies. If he was watching something, there was a full EXPECTATION that this should be respected and anything that needed to be said be put off until a commercial or some other appropriate pause ensued. 
HOWEVER...it was a daily habit of his to come in when I was watching something and turn the channel or lower the volume because he wanted to say something. 
He ABSOLUTELY could not tolerate the fact that I would find ANYTHING more important than whatever he had to say.

If I objected he would comment that "I always wanted to talk when I wanted to talk but then I was not willing to talk when he wanted to" 
or 
"Geeee...I'm SORRY that your SHOW is more important than what I had to SAY! Sorryyyyyyy!"

So, I stopped objecting.

Now just THINK about trying to communicate this behavior over the period of 17 years...to an outsider! Someone who does not recognize it as what it was. A daily affirmation that he was more important than me...that his likes were more important...that my desires meant nothing...that I was selfish for trying to demand equal treatment...that I needed to just deal with it and shut up....that I was substandard and not worthy of consideration....etc. etc.

"He turns the music down when a song I like comes on!"
"He interrupts my programs to talk to me!"
The reaction?
I will TELL you the reaction....the reaction that comes, often, from YOUR OWN support system.

"OMG! you are sooooo petty!"

"You are upset because he WANTS to TALK to you?! 
Wish I HAD that problem!"
"OH come ON!! That's ALL you can find to complain about??!! OMG!"

These, with the eye roll that always accompanied the words....from family, from  friends...etc.

It is really impossible to describe to someone who has not been there, the depth of the despair that this brings up. The abuser continuously discounts every feeling, every observation, every complaint. The abuser tells you in every possible WAY that what you feel and think is unimportant, invalid, worthless, delusional and PETTY. 

The experience of having OTHERS validate what they are saying is excruciating...PARTICULARLY when they are supposed to be YOUR OWN SUPPORT SYSTEM.
It is common that we begin to fear that we ARE these things and we begin to remain silent.

So I stopped objecting and learned to keep my mouth shut.

Enough to drive you CRAZY after awhile...and was nearly successful!

Almost…

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Addiction is Addiction is Addiction....




I am a big believer in the concept of addiction. 

I have shared, many times, that I am a recovering addict. I have been in recovery for nearly 15 years. 

When I started this "Odyssey" I bought into the differences in addictions. How some substances are "more addictive" and the importance of the concept of PHYSICAL ADDICTION. It is a scientific fact that some substances induce a more powerful physical dependence that causes PHYSICAL withdrawal when withheld.

That is only a very SMALL part of addiction.

The concept of being addicted to food was one I had trouble with when I was younger. At that time, I felt that people who claimed to be addicted to food were simply lacking in willpower and looking for an excuse. I was quite judgmental about that in my youth.

Over the years, my views have changed and I have come to believe that addiction is addiction is addiction...and that the PHYSICAL DEPENDENCE caused by specific substances is a very small part of the problem.

Addictions (no matter what they are) have a common pattern. 

  • Most addictions begin with something that is enjoyable and pleasurable.
  • There is typically a period of time when the activity is recreational and optional.
  • There comes a time (at some point) when the activity/addiction is used to cope with an unpleasant event/feeling/situation.
  • The person begins to habitually utilize the activity/addiction during times of stress as the coping mechanism of choice.
  • Other methods of coping are neglected and not utilized
  • The feeling that the activity/addiction is necessary for COPING grows.
  • The feeling that the activity/addiction is necessary for SURVIVAL grows.
  • The activity/addiction is no longer pleasurable OR optional
  • The activity/addiction begins to create unpleasant consequences.
  • The addict tolerates the consequences because they feel they cannot survive without the "addiction".
  • The consequences continue to get worse and the addict continues to tolerate more and more pain because they feel they cannot survive without the "addiction".
  • When something interferes with the "supply" the addict experiences panic and will do what is necessary to obtain the supply.
  • No matter how bad the consequences/pain gets, the addict will  believe that the activity/addiction is a choice they are making and they will defend the activity/addiction claiming they enjoy it.
  • If something happens to permanently disrupt the supply...the addict will still tend to "romanticize" the activity/addiction...choosing to remember only the pleasant and enjoyable times.


As you can see, this has almost nothing to do with physical need or dependency...and everything to do with psychological dependence. 

The pattern above describes my addiction to the abuser as much as it does my addiction to a substance. If you look at it that way...it makes absolute sense that we were addicted to a person/relationship.... and that our addiction, though it may have started as feelings of love.... was NOT love in the end...but an unhealthy habit that was killing us.

No matter whether we are talking about alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, shopping, relationships...no matter what the addiction is...the path to recovery is the same. 

The act of simply NOT USING is NOT RECOVERY. If we remain as miserable outside the addiction as we did inside the addiction then we are "dry drunks".
(an alcoholic who is not currently drinking alcohol but is still following an irregular, 
undisciplined lifestyle like that of a drunkard)

In order to recover certain things are necessary:

  • Absolute abstinence (even when you have the urge to use)
  • Realization that the way the addiction is seen is not based in reality (an illusion). 
  • Realization that the addiction is causing unacceptable harm to ourselves and others
  • Realization that there is a problem within ourselves that makes us prone to addiction 
  • Willingness to see, examine and address our own problems 
  • Acceptance of realistic, personal responsibility for current situation  
  • Belief that we deserve better and are worthy of more
  • Belief that we have the power to decide and act on our own behalf
  • Knowledge that there is NOTHING worth sacrificing EVERYTHING for. 
I decided I was ready to recover from my first addiction 15 years ago.... and I decided I was ready to start to recover from my last addiction about 3 years ago. 

In truth, the second "addiction" was more damaging because the "substance" was actually MALICIOUS and manipulative.


THE MOST DANGEROUS KIND OF NARCOPATH...

PROSOCIAL NARCOPATHS ARE VERY DANGEROUS....even the words "prosocial narcopath" seems like a contradiction, since "prosocial" means "voluntary behavior intended to benefit another", behavior that "benefit[s] other people or society as a whole, "such as helping, sharing, donating, co-operating, and volunteering." Obeying the rules and conforming to socially accepted behaviors." That very definition runs counter to the narcopathic personality. BUT, think of Bernie Madoff, who defrauded people of $50 Billion, but had a charitable foundation and SEEMED prosocial in his behavor.  Religious narcissist are often apparently prosocial.

Prosocial narcopaths often fly under the radar because they are are able to behave mostly within the expectations of their society, and they appear to live normal lives. Prosocial psychopaths are very charming, but they still lack empathy and remorse, and can cause emotional and financial damage in your life if you allow them to get too close, yet they are able to FAKE empathy or remorse, and PRETEND to be prosocial.

They pretend to "love you", since they fake emotional attachment if it serves their interests, but, in reality, they are cruel and manipulative and are more likely to engage in destructive behaviour with absolutely no remorse, because they are confident of their ability to get away with it. Many of them know that who they really are is not acceptable to society, hence their having developed good acting skills to fool everyone into believing they are good people.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

ADDICTED TO THE NARCISSIST: CHASING THE ORIGINAL HIGH


Ah, the love bombing phase. The INCREDIBLE FEELINGS. Like nothing you've ever felt before….or since. What a high! If ONLY, if only….you could just get that feeling back, everything would be wonderful!

And, it as HIM (or her...but for the sake of simplicity, I'll use the male pronouns here)...it was HIM that gave you that high. He made you feel like you were walking on clouds. But, it went away….he began to be discontent. He began to ABUSE. He pushed you away...but now and then, he'd be his “old self”.

IF ONLY THAT PERSON WOULD COME TO STAY. He's telling you that you're the problem. You've changed, not him. He gives you the silent treatment. IF ONLY you could just get back to the beginning and stay there, everything would be fine. And, occasionally, he does love bomb you...for a while. But, it's illusive….it comes, and goes.

Maybe you've already been discarded, and then, out of the blue, he texts you or calls you. He misses you. Maybe he loves you again, you think, so the feelings come flooding back. You know YOU'RE in love...but are you? Or, are you ADDICTED TO A FEELING, and so, addicted to the person who gave you that feeling. Maybe...just consider it….that you're TRAUMA BONDED.

Is that incredible HIGH actually love? Regardless of your religious persuasion, let me say that love is a VERB….as described here: Love is very patient and kind, not unreasonably jealous, and not selfish, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and won't keep score when it comes to wrongs.  It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out.  If you love someone, you will be faithful to them no matter what. Love never gives up, and always patiently resolves problems. Love...never fails.

Love is not mainly a feeling, but feelings come from love...love that is really love. It's a beautiful feeling, calm and confident, deep and lasting. It's there, day in and day out. It's the kind of love that raises kids, buys a home, builds absolute trust with total transparency.

But, it's not constant drama. It's not those crazy feeling of insecurity, and it's not wondering if the other person is unfaithful. It's not on and off.

It's not that feeling of craving a fix from the other person. It's a feeling of contentment that you always have the other, and always will.

So, if you're chasing that HIGH, you're not chasing Love. You're chasing an addiction that you need to break, like any other addiction. You're trauma bonded. That's not love. That's a 12 step program to get over it. It's no contact (minimal if you have kids). It's not “narc dipping”...watching the narcs FB page, taking and responding to texts, keeping old pictures, etc...that's “chipping” on your addiction.

And, it's agonizing to go through withdrawal. But, it will destroy your life as easily as shooting crank.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What Does "Crazy" Look Like?

For YEARS, I was accused of being "crazy"....and I finally was...

In a support group the other day, we were discussing the, VERY REAL, possibility of being diagnosed with a mental disorder based upon what you can become after long term psychological abuse. One person shared that they had been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder after many years in this Hell, but has made a SURPRISING 100% recovery since the abuser has been gone.


This got me thinking about what a PSYCHIATRIST would have thought about me if they had seen me for the last two years of the abuse and the first year after the discard.


NOT a pretty picture...


I had lost 20 lbs, my skin was grey. I often did not shower every day. I was a shell and all I did was what I HAD to do to survive and care for my children. I was tense every moment of every day...I was fearful. I jumped at every noise and I was ALWAYS waiting for the NEXT foot to fall on my neck. 


I was angry and often felt rage when I sensed that something would upset the abuser. I DEMANDED that everyone else in the house walk on eggshells to avoid escalating the abuse of them...and of ME. This was done by isolating all of us...few in...few out...because

the long LIST of things that MIGHT upset the abuser was never ending. 

If ALL his props were in their proper place and there was no one brought into the house....we might be safe for a bit. Seldom worked...but not for lack of trying. No friends for the kids, family slowly started to stay away.


I conspired CONSTANTLY with my children to hide any issues that might come up. 


OMG! YOU threw a ball and broke a decorative plate! 


(I didn't give a damn about the plate but HE DID)


I found the same words coming out of my mouth over and over...more and more frequently.



"If HE finds out about this I am not going to be able to protect you!"

No. There was not much actual physical abuse...and NONE against me at all.


THAT is NOT what I was trying to protect them from. If you UNDERSTAND this, you are in the right place. 


My CHILDREN understood EXACTLY what I meant.


We ALL became props in "HIS WORLD". We functioned in a relatively normal way (even given my shell of an existence) UNTIL we heard the truck pull into the driveway.


EVERYONE would stop, say "He's back" and scatter for cover...hiding away in silence and hoping to be un-noticed. We BECAME his props and the whole household lived to keep HIM FROM GETTING ANGRY.


After the discard, it became even worse for a time. With his threats to take the children... prove me unfit, to ...


"RUIN ME if I did not do what he told me to do and keep my mouth shut"

"Take everything you HAVE including the kids"
"Make you pay me so much alimony and child support that you will be living in a car"
"Have you supporting me AND the kids" (as well as his mistress with whom he was living)

His Golden Circle of friends closed around him believing EVERY WORD he said. He told his CHURCH that I had hired a hit man to try to murder him. He told our children that I was insane and dangerous. He had his PASTOR (whom I had met only twice for a total of 10 minutes) agreeing to TESTIFY IN COURT that I was unfit.


He carried a loaded gun and made audios of himself saying he was being threatened by my adult son. I TRULY expected to come home from work, one day, and find that my son had been "shot in self-defense". (The court allowed him free access to our home for over three months as they decided "He was not a real danger"....I would wake up and find him standing there just "smirking" at me...standing over me in my sleep. 


Our minor children (14 year old sons) were terrified to let me sleep alone. We all slept together on a fold out couch so they could "protect me". 


During that time, there were probably at least 3 times when I KNEW I WAS NOT STABLE. I have a history of depression and I KNEW that I was in crisis...that I TRULY NEEDED to be admitted to a hospital....but the FEAR STOPPED ME. 


I KNEW he would use that against me to try to take my sons.


You see...he HAD driven me "crazy" and a psychiatrist...seeing nothing happening inside our home....who spoke to the charming, meek abuser...would have diagnosed ME with some type of paranoia and who knows what else.


I share this because I KNOW I am not the only one who has gone through this. If it sounds familiar...please know....


You are not CRAZY!


The CRAZY rubbed off for a little while...it is part of their plan...but it DOES fade away once they are out of your life.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The KEY to reality and peace




I am NOT a psychologist or an "expert"...but I have spent 10 years living with an abuser (actually it was 18 years but after the FIRST 8 I could no longer pretend that he was normal) and, after much research and sharing, I have come to believe that he is one of the most CLASSIC cases of  covert narcissism that exists. Based on this I would like to say that, in my opinion, there is one major KEY to moving on and living in reality.

REALIZATION

In the beginning, we are hurt and we are angry. We see the abuser as a "dick head" or a "bitch". We attribute NORMAL emotions and capabilities to them. We see them as flawed humans...with the ability to reason, the ability to change, the ability to act honorably...but who are CHOOSING NOT TO.

OF COURSE WE DO!

This is the only thing many of us have ever seen and we are drawing on our own experience! Its all we have. None of us are perfect. MOST of us have made mistakes and wronged others. I have done things I should not have done...injuring people...even KNOWING I was injuring them. I am not proud of these things and I can easily bring myself to tears with the guilt I feel over doing them! As a normal human being...I am flawed!

How easy is it to look at them and think that they are like us...flawed, imperfect and capable of change and self reflection?

When  dealing with a TRULY disordered abuser, this is a GRAVE MISTAKE.

We, as normal people...do not like to have discord. We seek to UNDERSTAND WHY they have done the things they have done. We NATURALLY try to see what part WE played. What we DID that caused they to do these things to us!

WE WANT CLOSURE.

Perhaps we do not seek to keep them in our lives but we CERTAINLY want them to acknowledge
what they have done...admit the truth...move on with HONOR.  We want them to admit, just as most of us have, that they have made mistakes...done things which were cruel. EVEN the admission of doing these cruel things in ERROR and an apology would be good enough!

BUT THEY CONSISTENTLY DENY US THAT. We assume, at first, that they simply do not UNDERSTAND and we seek to reason, to obtain that validation....for what normal person could SEE absolute proof of something and still continue to DENY the truth?

NO! NOT JUST DENY IT...but truly BELIEVE their own lies?

A normal person usually cannot.

It cannot be forced...it takes time...and the trigger is different for everyone....
But ONE DAY, the victim SEES that the abuser they are dealing with is NOT a normal human being!

As this realization becomes fixed in your mind....and you see reality...it becomes VERY CLEAR.

They will never realize they have done something wrong...because they can JUSTIFY each action.
They will never realize their lies because they have buried them so deeply that they cannot see them.
They will never see your point because YOU are a liar.
They will never change because they see no reason.
NOTHING you can show them will be PROOF ENOUGH because they see what they want to see.
They will always see themselves as "faultless" no matter what befalls them.
They will never feel like they deserve anything that happens to them because they are ruined by others.
They will take every "negative" and turn it into a positive in their own MINDS.
They will ALWAYS CLAIM VICTORY no matter how obviously they are defeated.
KARMA may strike them...but they will NEVER see it that way and find someone else to blame.

THEY WILL continue to live in this delusion...convincing themselves that they are in TOTAL CONTROL and ALWAYS CLAIMING VICTORY...utilizing the "sweet lemons" approach until they die.

Telling them what they have lost, what they have given up, it far less than useless.
Their DELUSION IS FAR TOO STRONG.
Even if you do WIN at times they will not see it.
If you win the lottery they will say "Think of all the taxes, glad it wasn't me!"
If their children turn away from them they will BELIEVE "It is only because they were brainwashed by the ex"
If you find a healthy relationship they will say "Boy, he/she doesn't know what they are getting into"

On the day that realization is cemented in your mind...

You will see that speaking to them, arguing with them, trying to convince them of ANYTHING...even trying to HELP THEM...is a waste of time and likely to be turned around on you.


THEY ARE LOST and they don't even know it.
They will NEVER live outside their delusion and in reality.
THEY CANNOT.
There is no true person in there...the mask is all they have.


NO CONTACT (or minimal until minor children turn 18) is the only sane option in reality.


I wanted to add one more thing. Most normal people want (and expect) the terror and discord of a breakup/divorce to fade over time. THEY also expect that. The difference is, while the normal person dreams of, someday, having peace and being able to have a "normal" social relationship for the sake of adult children perhaps....the abuser wants something totally different. They cannot BE NORMAL because they are not.

One of the last things the abuser said to me was 

"I don't understand why we cannot just be friends. You are friends with your first ex husband!"

and, indeed, I am.

what I SAID to him, in anger, at the time was...

"YOU are not HALF the man he is and you never will be!"

Later...the truth came to me...and that is that my first ex was NOT a psychopath.

There will NEVER be a chance for peace or a polite "amiable" relationship between us. Despite how great that would be for our children whom I dearly love. The fact is...in reality...any contact I have with him is DANGEROUS and harmful and I will never be where he is...ever again. 

I have thought about what this means for our sons as they mature. 
What about weddings? 
The birth of children? 
Graduations? 

Because I know WHAT he is I have made a decision that this cannot be a rule I break.
They will have both parents...but there will NEVER BE CONTACT between them.

It is difficult for them to understand now as they wish for peace. One day I think they will understand. 

The person the abuser pretended to be is DEAD. I have no use for the thing that remains.

In my situation...it would be like trying to make friends with a Cobra. While he might not STRIKE every time....it only takes one time. 

He will never have that chance.

He is dead to me.