Coparenting, Divorcing a Narc, Manipulation, Starting Over, Toxic Behaviors

LIFE POST DIVORCE

COPARENTING IS HARD
A narcissist has a special place in their toxic brain for Primary Supply Sources (PSS). As if living with a monster isn’t purgatory enough, if you’re coparenting they just love to mess with your parenting plan, manipulate the rules, miss child support payments, smear campaign you to student’s parents and teachers in your school, skip paying their share of childcare and will even let medical expenses lapse a year or more!”

The Bad Just Keeps Bubbling Up
I’ve mentioned how recovery from narcissistic abuse is a long and slow process, but it’s even more complicated when you are coparenting and still have to interface with your toxic ex. After being free for the last seven years, honestly, nothing surprises me anymore. The longer we are apart, the more bad comes to the surface.

Life with a narcissist post-breakup doesn’t mean the drama is over for those of us who were married and if we were wed a long time, the trail of drama will be a long one. Just think of what two decades of lies looks like. How these abusers can find the time to manage so many details and conceal their dirty facts and mess with you after leaving them-is almost super human! It’s even worse if we are coparents because there are so many fun ways to manipulate and push our buttons.

Learn Your Triggers
Narcissists NEVER change their approach with you. They just assume whatever worked with you when you were together will work with you now. You need to understand and know what triggers you, so you can react differently to their pokes and jabs.

Is it an insult to your character?
Calling you a certain name?
Telling the kids you’re an angry person?
Calling you fat?
Catching the narcissist in a lie?
Responding to a false panic the narcissist has created?

Anything that gets your heart beating faster and your blood boiling is a keen indicator you’ve just been triggered by the narcissist. Start journaling and record what situations are causing your triggers to fire. Then learn how to control them.

Don’t Take the Bait
A narcissist knows how to start something just to get a response or rise out of you. STAY CALM. Learn not to respond immediately, but let the narcissist simmer as they wait for your response. Wait an hour or longer if you can, until you are calm and had ample time to consider the facts and think about your response.

Remove All Emotion
The hardest lesson to learn with a narcissist is they enjoy being yelled at, called names, and your anger and spite as much as they enjoy being praised and adored. Let me repeat that. A narcissist loves your venom and anger. 

It’s a sick dynamic, but it’s a true one. A narcissist will pick a fight with you just to lap up the wonderful negative praise from the moment. Like a dog digging up a favorite bone from a secret burrow, a narcissist digs up old dirt and pokes at your old buttons to eat the supply you’re giving him like a Scooby Snack.

If you are not familiar with the term Gray Rock, you need to be. In a nutshell, it is like the concept of No Contact-but for those of us who have to deal with toxic exes. Gray Rock means, you make your life as boring and uninteresting as possible for the narcissist. You stay emotionless and about as exciting as rock. The plan is the narc will get bored messing with you and go play with another target.

Never Stop Documenting
I keep an online journal and record conversations and situations with our kids. Never stop documenting your interactions and life with the narcissist. Keep a detailed record of their manipulations with your kids, and their missteps and be ready should you ever have the need to repetition the courts for your children.

Coparenting is the Perfect Setup for Game Playing
As the empath in the relationship, you care deeply about your children and the narcissist knows this. The narc knows this is your ultimate panic button and this will be the primary area in your life the narc will mess with and manipulate the most. To coparent with a narcissist means you need to be ready for your A game. Do not give the narcissist the supply they crave. Do not take the bait and do not make them believe their schemes are hurting, bothering, or driving you crazy.

As in all things with minor children, their safety comes first. If the narc is abusing your children, placing them in harmful situations or neglecting them–you need to take action with the property authorities and courts to protect them. In my experience, my narc only ever attempted to manipulate minor situations to annoy and inconvenience me. 

Here are a few tricks they will play with your kids:
– Refusing to care for sick children
– Refusing to watch children for me to travel for work
– Allowing kids to eat junk food nonstop so they come back sick
– Skipping medication for a child who needs regular meds
– Allowing kids to stay up way past their bedtimes so they are tired when they return
– Allowing day-long gaming marathons on weekends (so kids can’t sleep later)
– Attending school meetings with counsellors to show up late then dominate the meeting
– Pretending to be a concerned parent with counsellors then switching the conversation to focus entirely on himself
– Taking kids to expensive doctors, urgent care, etc. not on your insurance plan and then refusing to pay his share of the doctor bill
– Signing kids up for expensive after school activities and not paying his share for uniforms, registration, etc.
– Refusing to pay childcare expenses
– Late with child support, skipping payments or scheduling payments so cash is deposited the last day of the month and funds don’t arrive until the first week of the following month (so your bills are late if you need their money)
– Working with your child on a big class project, then taking all the credit for it with teachers and staff
– Rehearsing and practicing for a school event, to have the narc show up like he’s been the one doing all the work and putting in the time with your child (not you)
– Admitting to not know a child’s doctor only to attend the appointment like he knew them for years
– Manipulating a child to not take or skip meds to convince the child they are unnecessary because having a child who needs meds reflects poorly on the narcissist (child isn’t perfect)
– Allowing children to watch adult movies and films the narc knows you will object to (Mine let my kids watch a show with a burlesque scene so my kids learned what strippers were!)
– Paying for clothing, shoes, winter gear for your children to have the narcissist store them up at their home and not return them
– Allowing children to play with dangerous tools, toys, or sporting gear (think shotguns, bows/arrows, etc.)

Set Healthy Boundaries
Narcissists know no boundaries. If you’ve been bullied or conned in the past to let the narcissist tear down or overcome your boundaries, this is not the time to cave. Coparenting absolutely must have safe boundaries with a narcissist. Your home, your life, your children must be surrounded by safe boundaries. The narcissist should NEVER be in your new home, should never know who you are with, know your new love, or have any intel about your new life. Boundaries with and about the kids must be clearly drawn.

Knowledge is Power
Learn how to be the stronger/better person in the situation. Understand what drives you crazy and learn to better deal with the situation. Establish strong boundaries and stick with them. Learn about coping strategies and how to apply Gray Rock strategies.

Divorcing a Narc, Healing, Rebuilding, Starting Over

REBUILDING AFTER THE BREAKUP

GET RID OF THE KEEPSAKES
The abuser who once controlled everything is gone. Remove anything that reminds you of your past. Start with a clean slate. Decorate your new home the way you always wanted. You are free now to do whatever makes you happy.”

I’m a handy girl, a fixer-upper who knows how to wire fixtures, fix leaky faucets and paint like a pro. I’m fearless when it comes to decorating. Love art. Love color. Love textures and textiles. Getting a place of my own was absolutely pure bliss after I was free from my toxic ex.

My narc had OCD about our former home together. I had to ask permission to put holes in the walls to hang pictures! Now I hang whatever I want, where I want–and it is absolutely wonderful!

Pitch Keepsakes
The narc will be watching what you take with you in your new life. If you still have contact and are coparenting, the narc will notice if you keep old photos, your wedding dress or a favorite art collection. To the narcissist, it means you are still emotionally attached and that spells an opportunity for you to be Hoovered and suckered back into the relationship you left. It’s best to pitch anything that reminds you of your past with the narcissist.

Light it Up and Let it Go
Some victims find it to be a great release to pile all the keepsakes into a fire pit and watching their past go up in flames. I burned the wedding albums, pawned my diamond, and donated my wedding dress to charity. I tossed art we purchased together in a giant dumpster and threw the wedding china off the back deck to watch it shatter into a million pieces! I felt incredible afterward. Not one wedding photo (or photo of my ex) can be found in my new home today because my new life is no longer about the narcissist. My new life is about peace, happiness, joy and parenting my children on my terms. Living life in the daily moments that make life worth living.

So what are you waiting for? Here are some tips on what to purge.

Set the Right Tone for Your New Life
What you bring into your new home or apartment makes a big difference in making your new place feel warm and welcoming after your toxic breakup. Purge the things that don’t bring you absolute happiness and joy. If you choose to keep an item, switch it up, paint it, or use it in a new way.

Your New Home Should Reflect What You Love
If you love color, PAINT a wall a gorgeously bright or rich color (you can always repaint it if you decided you don’t want it forever). If you’ve always loved shag rugs, BUY one. Do whatever you need to do to build a new home for yourself that makes it feel special and place you want to live and laugh in.

You will find a fun, eclectic collection of art, glass, and paintings in my home. Antiques with new things. Contemporary meets french traditional. Comfy furniture. Soft lighting. You won’t find anything with my ex’s face, any marital mementos, or any objects from my former life. Everything was purged in my departure. That is freedom!

 

 

 

 

Divorcing a Narc, Freedom, Leaving, Sabotage

LEAVING

GET READY FOR THE FIGHT OF YOUR LIFE
Escaping is brutal. Don’t go into battle weak and uninformed. Become the strongest warrior you have ever been.”

I fought a cancer scare, illness, and Autism–but leaving a narcissist was the hardest fight I have ever known. Make no mistake, leaving will be one of the biggest, dirtiest fights of your life. How you build your strength this point forward matters a great deal in your stamina and ability to stay in the fight. If you quietly retreated to take your lumps during your relationship with the narcissist, now is the time for you to stand up, fight back and become stronger than you’ve ever been. If you washed your pain away in drugs or alcohol to cope during your relationship–you need to get immediate help to get sober and be the healthiest you can be. You will need all your mental and emotional strength for the battle ahead of you.

Leaving a narcissist with children, assets, or finances involved will be a fight to the last breath and will take all your emotional, physical and mental energy because a narc fights to the death and will stop a nothing to win (even if he/she doesn’t want the kids, etc.). This phase of the fight is about regaining power over you and is designed to punish you for expressing your ability to have free thought, a will of your own and power to walk away. If you are the Primary Supply Source (PSS) [narc speak for spouse or long-term partner]–you’re journey will be vicious, underhanded and evil to the extent you will stand with your jaw agape in awe at the cruelty the person you cared for is capable of.

Rule #1: There Are No Rules
Whatever you believed about the narcissist being a good person, you need to abandon and toss out the window. The narc follows no rules, there are no boundaries, and nothing is too taboo or off game to inflict hurt or cause you pain. This is about stabbing you deep and leaving you with the biggest open wound that can be inflicted. The narc will attempt to tug at your sympathy, empathy, and heartstrings-but don’t you dare fall for this trap!

Rule #2: Winner (That Means the Narc) Takes All
You can expect no compromises or yielding in your escape. Anything that was yours or you brought into the relationship now belongs to the narcissist. If you left it behind, you must not want it and now he/she has possession of something they know you want. If you leave anything in the marital home, be prepared to never see it again or have the narc attempt to use it as a bargaining chip to Hoover you or manipulate you to engage with them if you’ve gone “no contact”. Know that your material possessions are just “things” and leaving them behind is worth the loss if it means you are now safe and in a better place. Let the stuff go. Give it to the narc. . .because it won’t bring them any happiness or joy in the end.

**Note: You also want to take and destroy anything that could be used against you in a divorce, such as: sexy photos, etc. In the narc’ s hands this kind of evidence is top blackmail and shaming material. If it’s not vanilla enough to show your mom, destroy it before you go.**

Rule #3: You Are Meat
It doesn’t matter if you nursed them through a terminal illness, cared for fourteen children, gave up your career, or invested your life savings into your relationship–they are entitled and deserved all your kindness. You are nothing more than meat to them. A device they used to gain positive/negative emotional feedback or “fuel” from. You are nothing more than an appliance to use and manipulate. It doesn’t matter if you were together 2 weeks or 20 years. It changes nothing. They felt nothing for you then, they feel nothing for you now. Any plea of sympathy and easing up will only further their motivation to continue with their tirade.

Rule #4: You Will Be Kicked and Bloodied While You’re Down
The narc wants you to suffer greatly. This is about getting even. If they can further torment you–you can bet they will do it without thinking twice. Be prepared for them to not pay temporary child support, miss alimony payments for months to strap you financially, or do anything to add further insult to injury. They know you are more vulnerable to a Hoover (they only want you back to regain power over you to abuse you even more for leaving them) or whatever fun they have in store for you if you are further weakened financially, physically, or emotionally.

If you aren’t strong enough to pick up your sword and shield to get back in the battle, you need to train to get your mind, spirit, and body ready. Seek out a professional abuse counsellor and work on your self-esteem and co-dependency issues. Refresh and rest your overly stressed spirit by taking quiet time (a friend introduced me to a monastery that had no electronic devices-it was bliss). Exercise, eat right and get plenty of rest so you are at your best. Journal and prepare your mind for getting past this phase in your life and have hope in your freedom and the happy life ahead of you.

Rule #5 They Won’t Fight Fair
Fairness is for whimps, not smart powerful people like the narcissist. Your friends and immediate family are fair game to engage in dramatic lie and smear campaigns to dirty your reputation and tarnish your good name. It’s best to distance yourself from anyone the narc has ever had a relationship, just as a precaution. It will also be necessary for you to end the majority of these relationships and rebuild your inner circle of friends you can trust. You can also expect them not to follow court orders, parenting plans and any other court ordered decree or rules (see Rule #1).

Rule #6: You are Expected to Play Nice
If you’ve never once caught your narc doing his/her dirty deeds, or turned a bind eye to their shenanigans in the past-now is the time to call them to the mat! Hire a fantastic attorney and question everything that doesn’t add up. Do a financial investigation and leave no stone unturned. Say goodbye to your nice-guy and plan your surprise attack.

Rule #7: You are Expected to Blurt Everything
Narcs are exceptional manipulators. If they’ve baited you in the past to reveal your thoughts or plans about something by making you angry or taking mean pokes at you as a person–it’s time to wise-up, shut-up, and walk away. Never share with the narc any of your plans to escape or legally during a divorce or separation. Warriors never tell the opposing army they are planning a raid.

Rule #8: You are Inferior to Their Supreme Intellect
The narc believes he/she is smarter than you and they’ve taken preventative measures to prevent your success in leaving since the first day you’ve been together. They are so clever, they knew one day you would reach your breaking point with the nonsense and leave and the Hoovering wouldn’t work anymore. So, they set an elaborate trap for you to fall into if you left and meant it finally. A trap where they have set clever landmines every way you turn. They have been smearing you to friends and family for years behind your back telling lies about you, they have been oozing charm to win people into their favor, they have special friends who do their dirty deeds for them (spying on you, following you, stalking you, etc.), they even have their lovers (as in the numerous people they cheated on during your relationship) to triangulate, frustrate and manipulate you. They will charm judges, parenting planning counsellors, mental health examiners, etc. They are masterminds at telling others what they think they know about you. . .and it is nothing even remotely close to the actual truth.

Rule #9: Prepare Yourself for Victim Switcharoos
The truth is only the narcs version of the story. No amount of proof or reasoning will work to change the minds of many of your friends or family-so let it go and don’t even try to change them. If they chose the narc over you in the first place, they are worth letting go of. You can count on every nasty thing the narc did to you in your relationship he/she has been telling your inner circle you did to them. Instead of you being the victim in the situation, your abuser has positioned him/herself as the one who has been abused all this time! Walk away. Let it go. Document everything to build your case.

Rule #10: Anything that Inflicts Pain Will be Used Against You
The narc will stop at nothing to get even and inflict pain. They will hurt the kids, use the kids, use friends, use school teachers, counsellors, attorneys, people at your job, your closest friends, your favorite restaurant, your things, sexy photos he took of you in college, the homemade sexy Valentine’s coupon book you gave him years ago, your likes in the bedroom, your platonic relationship with a coworker . . . absolutely anything to poke, jab, scare, sadden, frustrate, anger or deplete you as a person.

Rule #11: They Want You to Look Crazy
The goal of all the coercion, delusion, crazy-making, Hoovering and worse is to get you to lash out at the narc. To tell him/her to go jump in a lake or worse, but be warned, this is a giant trap. He/she is counting on you to get fed up and reach your breaking point. They want you to “lose it” so they can record it or capture you at your manic status to use it against you in court or proof to all the friends he/she has been lying to that you are in fact, crazy as a loon. It’s all just an elaborate scheme to project onto you who they are in reality.

Rule #12: When Caught in a Lie: They Deny, Deny, Deny
A narc will NEVER admit the truth. No matter if you have actual photos of them in a sexual relationship with a lover, no matter if you have bank statements that says there is money in an offshore account in Tahiti, or they are arrested for spousal abuse. They just simply were having an bad day where you happened to catch them in an off-moment. It was your fault they did it in the first place. Had you been a better spouse and tended more to his or her needs or made more money for them to play with–there would have never been a need for them to stray or do those things in the first place.

Rule #13: You’re Too Weak to Win
Don’t you just love this one? The narc already has assumed he or she has won before the battle is even over. They just automatically assume we are push-overs and are going to cave and give up. Be prepared for divorces to take years to complete and to suffer insurmountable debt to get the narc to give just a little or even compromise. Expect to give up large assets to gain complete custody of your children. In the end, don’t let the narc bully you. Know your boundaries and be prepared to go into battle to get what you need. When it reaches a threshold, threaten to take the situation to trial (the last thing the narc wants is for his/her deeds to become public and the world to know the truth behind the mask).

Rule #14: The Crazy Never Ends
Narcs love drama. They eat, breathe and sleep it. If you were a PSS, you hold a special connection the narc just can’t get over. They relive how easy things used to be with you, Hoover you after breakups, Hoover the kids at school (while hunting for new empath victims in their teaching staff), give you their saddest and most pathetic puppy dog eyes you’ve ever seen, lie, cheat, try to break into your new friend circle, sell your things to get a rise out of you, refuse to pay support or reimburse medical bills while they take expensive vacations or worse. . .just because they can and they believe it’s getting to you. Go “no contact” and stay “gray rock”. Erase them as far from your life as you can while caring for children (if that is your situation) or move away, change your phone number and disappear for good if you are able.