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Dear Chump Lady, Is No Contact the Only Way?

Dear Chump Lady,

First off, I want to say thanks to you, CL, and everyone. Your site has helped me get confirmation of what I need to do — leave my NPD-cheater. I’m laying low while I get my ducks in a row, and it’s been hard to have hardly anyone to talk with about this crazy situation. This blog has been my gateway to clarity; invaluable support from others who have been through this before.

Your “How to Go No Contact” advice is particularly apropos. My divorce will begin in the near future and I really need my game plan. I’m sensitive and tend to get overwhelmed in the moment when my STBX rages, guilts, gaslights, etc. But when I have guidelines ahead of time, I am strong!

I have a big, big question, though: Is no contact the only way?

My soon to be ex (STBX) is a rage-a-holic NPD. Once he feels “rejected”, he declares war. That’s bad for my kids, and for me. If he sees divorce (and possibly wage garnishment, restraining order, etc.) as rejection, we may be in for trouble.

What kind of trouble? It could be just lots of empty threats, air-raid siren style. It could be the common tactic of him verbally bashing me in front of the kids and fucking with our parenting schedule. Maybe pulling me into legal battles. Or accusing me of being an unfit parent, or some other nonsense meant to hurt me.

What has he done in the past? He rages, smears, and, at his worst moments, verbally bullies the kids and me. Once, he drove drunk with one of our kids in the car, despite protests from onlookers. He has beat up his own dog, in front of us. He collects guns and plays violent video games (endlessly). He uses guns at his job and has them loaded and handy all the time. Enjoys getting into fist fights. He scored a 7 out of 10 on the Mosaic test. Statistically, I will have the two highest factors for spousal violence — I’m leaving my husband and I’m pregnant — double the risk! I don’t want to over-think this, but I feel like I need to be smart. I read your post on leaving violent exes, and it wakes me up to what I may be facing. I don’t think he will get physically violent (yes, I will make sure I’m safe physically) but I’m really hoping it doesn’t come to that. It hasn’t yet.

Here’s why: He has a *lot* going for him — a good job, parents whose opinion he (sort of) respects. A good reputation, at least on the surface (his affair is still secret). He hasn’t physically hit any of us (yet). He’s never held a gun to my head or anything. So that is good. There are boundaries that he hasn’t crossed because he knows he would get in trouble. When he rages, I wouldn’t put it past him to cross these boundaries (like when he drove drunk with our kid) but normally he doesn’t. He still sees himself as a great husband and dad. Deluded, I know, but that’s how he sees himself.

So, back to the question: What about feeding him some kibbles? Just enough to prevent the narc from declaring all-out war?

I don’t mean relationship-love kibbles. No way. I mean kibbles like “You’re such a great father.” Things regarding the kids, like “I’m so glad you sent the support check this month, it helps us out so much. We would be lost without you.” Gag – I know. But apparently narcs respond well to this stuff.

I’m not talking about chatting endlessly with him. Just short, concise emails, as in “The kids will be ready for their visit with you on Sat. By the way, ___ said she loves you and you’re the best dad ever.” End of email. No engaging in his drama, no spackling. No sharing details of my life, or his. Brief, short sentences with essential kid/house items plus an extra sentence of “kid kibbles” thrown in.

BTW, my love for him is *completely* dead, so there’s no danger of me wanting any relationship with him. He is toxic with a capital T. I saw way too much of his lies and cheating to ever want to go down that road again. Despite the fact that I want to hold him down and have “cheater” tattooed on his forehead, I think I can muster the emotional strength to feed him some kid-kibbles, *if* it has even the slightest influence on discouraging him from declaring war (scheduling-fucking, general meanness, or otherwise) on me and my kids for the next 18 years.

He has every reason to think that these kibbles are genuine. In reality, all I want to do is cuss him out – for the affair, for the lying, for all the bad treatment. It would relieve this emotional constipation and I bet it would feel really good to get it off my chest. If I didn’t share kids with him, I would have done this already. But as of yet, I haven’t. Not once. Not even on Dday. I was calm as a saint. During (false) R, I did the pick-me-dance and then once I found out he was still lying/cheating, I started making my exit plans, quietly.

I know I can’t control this situation, or him. But apparently narcs are suckers for kibbles, so maybe this is worth a try? What is your experience with this?


Dear Duck,

I’m so sorry you’re dealing with that freak! My experience with scary narcissists is that the best defense is a good offense. The most progress I made getting away from mine was laying low and then just sucker punching him. (Not literally). When I finally decided to leave, I did a mental calculus. Whenever I openly, like in therapy, said I was going to leave, he raged at me. Towering rage, cursing me out, etc. (And that was with a witness). At home, he was scarier. He’d get drunk and “sorry” and then threatening. I learned from that — don’t tell him. Just DO IT.

So for months I kept my plans on the down low. I bought a house while in “reconciliation.” I started moving my things out on the sly. And then when I moved, I got some friends, three movers and a van, and packed and vacated a 3000 square-foot house in under four hours. Turned off the utilities, didn’t leave a forwarding address.

My neighbor later told me that night she could hear his yelling and cursing next door, when he walked into an empty house.

There were other times in the process, that I pulled my punches. I felt bad for him. I was afraid of the consequences of his anger. I didn’t use all my power — I let him talk me out of several consequences, like a protection from abuse order. Those appeasements set me waaaay back. What worked? Focused energy on getting out and staying no contact. And exposure (we’ll get back to that).

You may think you can placate a narc with kibbles (“kids think you’re great”), but for narcs, there are never enough kibbles. If you only tell him the kids think he’s terrific, he’ll want you to add, “Don’t you think I’m wonderful too?” No matter how much kibble you give, he’s devalued you as a source (oh, you would say that). He’ll enjoy the kibbles, of course, but they aren’t shiny, bright new kibbles. They’re his baseline kibbles that he thinks he deserves ALL the time — and now you’re leaving and taking away ALL the kibbles and just leaving him SOME of the kibbles? How DARE YOU!

So, I think the kibble strategy is flawed. Don’t fool yourself in thinking you can manage him. People have gotten eaten by grizzly bears using that logic. The point is — you ARE going to leave him. And he IS going to lose his shit about that. You can’t disguise your ultimate intent — and that’s going to freak him out. There aren’t enough kibbles to not make feel the lose of control when you leave.

Another problem with the Kids Think You’re the Best Dad Ever kibble strategy is that narcs will twist things. Your narc may be litigious and have zero problem using those words against you in the court of law. A man who beats his dog and leaves a lot of guns around is a man you may want to argue isn’t the best influence on your children. Therefore you want ZERO affirmation on the record that you think he’s the “best.” Or the that the kids prefer him, adore him, etc. IMO, instead you need to be documenting for the court how frightened your kids are by his rages and any ill effects they may be experiencing (troubles at school, bed wetting, etc.) You need to document when he beats the dog, or intimidates you with his arsenal. That’s the kind of telling detail that matters in court cases. Don’t sugarcoat it. Use it.

Ack! So how do you leave Mr. Scary if you can’t use kibbles? You surround yourself with support. That’s how you do it. Tell everyone — your lawyer — your women’s legal resource center — your shrink — your pastor — what you are dealing with. And then you make a plan to escape to a safe place — your parent’s, or a friend, or a rental. Don’t get isolated — reach out.

You need a lawyer experienced in high conflict divorces, who knows about dealing with personality disorders especially. IMO, if you’re going to threaten exposure of the affair, to his folks, to his employers, you need to let your lawyer communicate that threat to his lawyer. As in, “We’d like to depose Miss Skankypants on Thursday the 24th” kind of thing. You’re dealing with explosives here, and that stuff is better left to professionals.

I know leaving one of these wingnuts is very scary, but people leave abusers every day — and you can too! Just don’t do it alone. Get professional support. Expect that he’ll get threatening and then face that fear and know what you’re going to do. Have a plan. He threatens you? Immediate protection from abuse order. No contact letter from the attorney. He pulls shit, the consequences need to be powerful and immediate.

Narcissists are bullies. And they care a lot about their image, so IMO your greatest weapon is exposure and a public fight. Going on the offensive works as well, because they never, ever expect it. You? That lesser being? Who is an extension of me? YOU have agency? It totally disorients them, and while they’re in that fog, that’s when you throw your punch — hard.

Just like you can’t nice them out of the affair, Duck — you can’t nice them out of divorce, either. They aren’t nice people.


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  • Wow, great timing duck and CL.

    I’m going through the same shit as duck.

    I can’t give any advice. Feel totally manipulated. I’ve just posted on the private forum asking pretty much the same question. When your NPD/BPD uses the kids as pawns, at what point do you you continue to wage war?

    Yes CL, I have a family lawyer set to go. I agree about the professional help. Ironically my cheating wife is a lawyer. :(((

    • Mine was a lawyer too, Kraft. Don’t worry about it. If she’s a freak, she’ll think she’s the smartest person in the room — oh and that goes over REAL well with judges. (Not.)

  • Absolutely right, CL, as usual!

    My ex is hugely narcissistic, and while somewhat less scarey than your STBX (we’re in Canada, so no guns, thank heavens!), was physically very threatening.

    Duck, you need to keep in mind that the ONLY thing that works w/these highly entitled people is LIMITS. And you can’t set those limits alone. You need a great lawyer, and you need the support of people around you. Given the circumstances, you can go quite NC, even arranging to drop off and pick up the kids in a public or neutral place, w/other people around. You don’t need to attack him, but EVERY time he does something out of line, you need to set those limits again. And weirdly enough, I’ve found that NC also calmed things down more quickly w/the ex, once I got there. There was a flurry of resistance and anger and attempts to get me back in touch, but then he settled down. (If you’re lucky, the OW is still in the picture and providing him kibbles, that seems to help!)

    This guy (like so many others) is a BULLY, and the only thing bullies respect is people who stand up to them, and who have the power (through their lawyers, the police, and money) to consistently back that up.

    If you haven’t already, you need to read the Bancroft book CL recommends. It’s a huge eye opener.

    • You’re right, he is a bully. And bullies only get worse when they think they get away with things. I will definitely set limits, I just hope they are enforceable. I’m pretty confidant that I will be able to go no contact, so I will be good on those limits, but if he threatens me or does something stupid with the kids, it seems like the courts will have to be my limit-setter at that point. The bummer is that he has a lawyer friend who will work for him for free (his speciality isn’t family law, thankfully, but still). So my expenses will likely pile up more quickly than his.

      That’s good to hear that NC helped to calm things down for you. I’m hoping the same is true for me. I’m expecting the initial speration to be scary (apparently the first 2 weeks are the worst?) but am hoping that things will settle down after that.

      The OW isn’t much of a factor any longer…..I think his affair fizzled on its own. So no kibbles from the OW. I wish there were, it would make my exit easier! Ironic, isn’t it, that at this point I’m actually *wishing* for him to be back with the OW! Any OW will do. A new one will work just fine.

      • Duck, don’t worry about his lawyer friend. No friend likes to work for free for very long. AND he doesn’t do family law. Which means your lawyer will make mince meat of his lawyer.

        My ex at first had free legal counsel from his firm. And of course, I had to pay for my lawyer. Then after the PFA and the affair came to light, and the hours started racking up, gee, they dumped him and wouldn’t represent him any longer.

        “I know a lawyer!” is just another bullying tactic. Pay zero attention and fuck him.

      • Duck, I have thought about the ow thing making it easier, but then I think that another w would create some real potential financial scenarios. He would want as much money as possible to keep her satisfied. I am somewhat blest with an h that cannot tend to another w and I have complete control over his life…and I am enjoying the revenge.

        • Yoder, that’s true, an OW would probably be moved vested in making sure the cheater has lots of dough to spend on them. Plus, the thought of the AP being around my kids made me physically sick to my stomach. I probably won’t relish having my kids around STBX’s next fling, either, but at least it won’t be his AP. That was really hard. So for that, and for the financial reasons you mentioned, I am grateful the OW is gone.

          I am amazed at your patience with taking care of your STBX. Smart exit strategy, for sure, you will leave with much more for you to start a new (better) life.

          • Just wanted to reiterate that I got rid of the ow permanently, so that I would not have to deal with that issue while I was trying to also get rid of h. Just too many emotional issues to try and do it all. Once I got rid of her, he became completely dependent on me, which is exactly what I wanted. He realizes he is in very deep mud and agrees to everything I ask (demand). Having said that, it won’t last forever, but I am bleeding for everything I can. The time spent planning also has allowed me to calm down, take a few deep breaths and come to terms with what he has done. He is the apex of fuckedupedness and a prime example of what happens to them.

            I don’t know why, but it became very important for me to know, believe, I am smarter than he is. A little odd, but of great importance to me. He was the genius and I so wanted to beat him at his own game…and I am. I am so enjoying that part of the puzzle.

    • Karen: +many on the recommendation of Lundy Bancroft’s “Why Does He Do That?” That book is a fantastic resource and will be affirming to the point of being spooky. The sections that deal with legal matters are generalized and helpful but aren’t specific to any particular state or province.
      Just make sure that you keep it out of the house so that it is never found, because that will not go over well. Never let on what you are going to do. Decide what you need to do, set it all up, then do it and don’t stick around for the reaction. Ordinarily this might seem nasty

      • … prematurely posted, sorry folks!
        Duck, you don’t owe him anything. At this point, being strategic is not being nasty, it is being smart and looking after you and your kids. We chumps tend to be straight up and transparent, and when dealing with cheaters a little mystery is in order to avoid getting screwed over. And over. But I also agree with CL’s take on buttering him up with compliments – I like your reasoning but the legal consequences could be disastrous.
        Good luck.

  • This reminds me of the movie “ENOUGH.” The star of the movie had to carefully create a way to get her daughter and herself, safely away from a raging narc. I have watched that movie dozens of times. I have not had to personally deal with that rage, but my cheater is brilliant and I knew that leaving meant I would be totally on my own and he would cover every base, leaving me penniless and homeless. I had to carefully craft a plan.

    For some reason, when watching “ENOUGH” I found myself coming up with alternatives as to the way I would make Gracie and her escape. If you will be stuck in the same town, you might try to get help from a church pastor. Sometimes there are church members that will help protect you. I thought of developing a friendship with someone he does not know, nor knows anything about them. A secret friend that would hide you temporarily. Is there anyone you know and trust that he does not know their name or where they live? Out sight is out of mind. If you can document abuse, verably or otherwise, a judge will think very carefully about granting custody or visitation to such a person.

    Lots of careful planning is the answer. Know a bouncer or really big scary guy who would sleep on your couch for a while. Are you a good cook. Bet he might. Chummy up to a cop, security guard, someone that will know what you are about to do and how dangerous it may be for you. But, don’t breathe a word to anyone that might allow it, or lit it slip, back to the narc. Stay under the radar, but use that quiet time wisely as you plan your getaway. And know, we all are here to support you. We have had our own disasters to deal with, which made us unsteady and frightened. Let your attorney listen to the bully, you’ve had ENOUGH.

    • True, I definitely need a plan. I am lining things up now, but sometimes I just get overwhelmed. I need to plan more, and get ready more. I need to use this time more wisely.

      I am trying to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. I’m already physically away from him, across the country, but he knows where I am. If he threatens violence, I’ll go to a safe house. I hope it doesn’t come to that, though. Since he’s so far away, I’m hoping he’ll calm down before he manages to make the trek. As far having a friend stay on my couch, I don’t know any guys who would be up for that, although I have looked into getting a security guard to watch the house. It’s expensive, but might be worth some peace of mind, I think I could afford it for a few days.

      I’ve documented some of his bad behavoir but I don’t know if it’s enough. I’ve heard soooo many cases of scary parents who continue to have custody, even when the bad behavoir is proven legally.

      Thank you for your encouragement, it helps a lot.

      • May I suggest cameras for home surveillance? Costco has a set of four for around $300, you can have them stream to your phone.

  • What about the opposite? Although I’m out of the woods on this now, instead of raging at me and threatening the kids, my ex threatened suicide. I guess it’s the passive aggressive method of “raging”. But I’ll tell you nothing got the kibbles from me faster than that. Because if he raged/threatened me or the kids I could rage back and/or get the hell out of there to protect myself and them. Instead he threatened something that I couldn’t control at all and if he, in fact, did it then it would have been the ultimate fuck you to me and the kids and would have screwed with my head (and theirs) for a looooong time.

    I know you are going to say I should have reported him… and I got close to that. And I did threaten it once toward the end (must have worked?). But the closest I got to it was calling his brothers a couple times. I assume it’s like NC and anything else… you know what you should do but you just can’t at first. In this case it was because I worried that making it more “public” would actually be what drove him over the edge to do it. Since he was also so worried about his image. Also being amazon chump hurt me here because I got some books and realized that suicide is much more common than I realized so maybe it could actually be for real. So basically reading the books increased my fear.

    But eventually, the more he threatened it, the less I believed him. Maybe he meant it at first and then when he saw how well it worked at getting some kibbles from me (high quality ones at that) he kept it up. Or maybe he was always just trying to manipulate me to stay and then when that didn’t work he tried to manipulate me to take less money in the divorce… because later it became obvious it was money talk and the thoughts of lack of money (ironic since I’m the one that is going to be MUCH worse off money-wise) that proceeded these threats. Eventually I noticed this money connection and the threats stopped working as well. I would stop acknowledging them and they got down to no more than a passing comment on how he “might as well be dead” or something like that. But even a comment like that could basically make me sick to my stomach. Though I would pretend like it didn’t.

    Now that the divorce is final it’s been downgraded to the random pity party. Still annoying, but much better than that other bullshit.

    • My husband threatened suicide many times after he admitted his affair. I always said don’t talk like that and gave him the kibbles. Then I finally wised up and the last time he yelled that he was going to kill himself, I said nothing (although I wanted to yell – here are the bullets!). My husband paused at walking out the door, probably waiting for me to stop him, then he slammed the door shut. A few minutes later he was back saying he didn’t want to fight. Whatever, just get out of my house. Since then he hasn’t threatened suicide (granted we barely see each other or speak anymore.)

      All these cheaters are the same. So unoriginal.

      Great advice to Duck CL!

      • mine always did the subtle super sad suicide threat approach. No yelling. Of course I don’t think I’ve heard my ex yell ever. Which means he’s a much nicer person than me of course, you know. Oh, wait I did hear it a few times during the separation. It was actually almost laughable… hard to explain. But since I’d never heard it before and it was so over the top, out of character, and excessive for the situation I did actually have to contain some laughter.

        • I know my problem isn’t as serious, but my X can’t afford a place, got one and got thrown out by the OW, and is sleeping in a shelter and doing drugs again. I just wish he would get back with his new woman so that I wouldn’t worry. I KNOW I shouldn’t care and I am getting better but just this morning I was thinking how bad I will feel if he OD’s or something. He just doesn’t seem to care anymore and it’s entirely possible. I even think it would be a good thing if he got arrested!

          It’s like his relationship with the OW condensed itself into shit in a few months, when it took us years to get to that point which seems to me like his behavior is accelerating and he can’t even ‘pretend’ to be normal with this OW. Sorry for rambling but I feel emotionally stalked, he texted me Happy Birthday this morning and I really, really wish he hadn’t! I need to remember how happy and strong I felt a few days ago before I saw him sleeping in his truck. Thanks for listening.

          Also DLU, there is alot of good advice here, I wish I could add to but know you are on my mind!

          • Here’s a newer Happy Birthday! to take the taste of the bad one out of your mouth. I surely hope you find some good in today!

          • Yes, happy birthday…

            You don’t have kids with him, right? Any chance you want to move? Out of sight out of mind sounds like the best plan to me.

            They call it tough love, right? Only in our case it should be called tough-I don’t give a shit about you except for the fact that I’m a good person and we have a history together.

          • Janet June 2, 2013 at 7:17 am
            Karma never forgets an address! And good for you. Quite frankly I would have crumbled


            . Toni June 2, 2013 at 9:20 am
            Oh Janet,
            I came very close. But when the first words out of his mouth were about what “she did to him” and how the landlord “wouldn’t give him his money back” that saved my butt. I was raised to believe that no matter what all people are human beings, and I do admit to being a little down this morning, but I did the right thing. It would have just started the whole cycle over again and I don’t want/need those people F-ing up my life again. Besides, he’s doing drugs too, I asked him. And I can never see him cry now though without thinking it’s fake. I am so grateful for this site, I know through everyone’s sharing what will happen if I DO give in….
            Happy B-Day Toni a reminder of your post to me yesterday Hang in there.

          • Toni, your compassion tells an entire story. I know what you mean. I don’t care for h at all, in any way, shape or form, but I do care about him as a poor, sick human being. I simply don’t want to communicate with him any more.

            I worry he is not eating enough, that he keeps losing weight, that he has become frail and but for me, totally alone.

            As I have reached that point that he is or has nothing to offer me, I simply go through the motions of being here, of tending to a sick person. Not even a friend.

            I think you said a great deal. Please keep posting.

            • Thank you Yoder,
              Just trying to get over this funk I’m back in. It’s like being on a hamster wheel sometimes!

              • Went through one of those funks yesterday and then today, I felt great. Just need more great days and fewer blue funk ones. I am now able to leave h for 3 or 4 hours at a time and have been working on the house we (temporarily we) are moving into. I got a text at the new house from my daughter. “Enjoying your time “out?” Boy was I! Feel like a nurse, baby sitter. I keep praying for patience.

    • I hadn’t thought of that. My narc is prideful, and he hasn’t ever threatened suicide before, but he might. I’ve seen him lie and manipulate so many times before, though, that if he does threaten to kill himself, I won’t believe him. Not at all.

      That sucks that yours put you through all that emotional turmoil. I think threatening suicide (when the person has no intention of actually killing themselves, but only wants attention) is another form of emotional abuse. It plays on your heart and human compassion, plus the guilt of “What if he is serious? I must do something to stop him!” even when the whole thing is just the ploy of a callous attention-whore.

      • Duck, suicide threats are used by abusers all the time, often they do not mean it, sometimes they kill their wife and then themselves when they realize they cannot get away with the murder. I’m serious here, suicide threats is a major red flag of abusive people. My ex threatened it often, an hour after agreeing to mediation he brought a loaded gun into the house and he was drunk. It started out with him putting the gun in his mouth, he also raged at me. I spent a long time talking him down, getting him to empty it. He nearly shot me a number of times, you don’t want to be there.

        BTW, I did MOSAIC too and my ex scored 8. that test is accurate…be careful, you think he won’t hurt you but he could, my ex almost killed me.

        • Holy shit. I don’t know what I would have done in that situation.

          You know what really pisses me off about it? Well, besides obviously all of it??? It’s that this is all AFTER they had betrayed our asses and turned our whole world upside down. Like we haven’t been through enough, had to deal with enough, and then they have the balls to pull this shit on us too. And WE have to be there for THEM. Well, maybe we don’t have to, but when they start threatening this kind of shit you pretty much can’t help yourself. It’s to protect yourself, your kids, as much as it is for them.

          Sometimes I forget truly how much my ex sucks. But this little trip I’ve taken down memory lane today has reminded me.

      • The best way to react to a narcissistic ex’s suicide threats is by either calling their family or friends and dumping the problem in their lap, or if that’s not an option, calling 911. If you’re actually with them, tell them you have to take them to emerg, in order to keep them safe and get them help.

        And a good way to tell if they’re serious about the threats is preface that by saying something like ‘wow, you’re really scaring me! I need to make sure you’ll be safe, so I’m going to call X person right now to get some help for you.’ If suddenly their suicidality disappears, then you know!

        Either way, it’s not your problem any more!

        • that is pretty good and so simple! Wish I’d talked to you a year ago. I like it when people feed me lines to say because sometimes my emotions get the better of me.

          Hopefully I’ll never need to take this advice again, but it is a good solution to most of those situations.

      • yeah, the thing is because you don’t really know what they’re thinking, you can’t help but get pulled in and believe it. I mean, I never thought he’d cheat on me and he did that, so what the hell do I really know about him anymore? I know he’s a selfish a-hole who likes to feel sorry for himself. So it didn’t seem like a huge stretch. For all I know he did mean it some of the time, maybe even all the time. I’ll never really know for sure.

        But it is part of the reason I do actually want him to be with someone out in the open (not the OW of course). Because then he can’t even make a pretense of being miserable anymore. At least not with me. And then they can complain to each other about how I take all his money too and I won’t have to hear that anymore either 🙂

        • I did tell ppl, I told his therapist the third time he said he was going to kill himself and described how, he said I was trying to get him locked up. And thne refused to see that therapist, he told me I had poisoned her. The day of the gun when I went out of his sight in my office he said I better not be calling the cops cos if I did he “would go all the way”. I did not and still do not know if he meant kill himself, me, or both of us. part of getting him to unload the gun entailed promising not to tell the cops, I had to break that promise in the end.

        • Well. I knew what mine was thinking. I asked him if he had any suicidal ideations, and he said he thinks about it sometimes. I told him he would never do it because he was too selfish.

          I was a little pissed………… He had abused me so thoroughly that I had actually attempted suicide years earlier. I know that pain, and am quite intimate with what it feels like. One has to have remorse to feel that…. he had none.

          Manipulative bastards, all of them.

    • Truly suicidal people should be considered homicidal as well. That’s one reason they are mandated to lock downs.

      Not all verbalizations of suicide are authentic, some are cries for help, some are attempts at manipulation. However, those in the situation are often the least qualified to sort out true intent, and even the experts occasionally get it wrong.

      I would take this very seriously and report it.

    • Most Personality Disordered (layman’s term Character Disordered) talk a lot about suicide when they think it will get them some traction in manipulating you.

      The first marriage counselor eventually told me to ignore Andy’s threats because he was going to do whatever he was going to do, no matter what I did or said.

      Its a control tactic. You don’t actually have the control to make him commit suicide or not. He is going to do whatever he is going to do *regardless of anything you do, say, don’t do, or don’t say*. YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS ACTIONS.

      I hope that helps.

  • Here’s my story on kibbles….mine is a little different in the sense I had no idea he was unhappy or thinking about leaving (he had been planning it for 10 months but hadn’t found the right woman). I was lucky in the sense mine ex was not smart enough to think through all the details because he knew he could trust me. He didnt have a plan. On d day, I devised a plan. Part of it was the humiliating dance of pick me but part was to drag out the divorce until I was on my feet without him. I hoped for the best and prepared for the worst.
    I sent him emails telling him his happiness was the only thing that mattered to me and I had had to step aside for him to be happy, I would. He showed up at the house unannounced with a moving truck. I helped him pack but told him I didn’t want a divorce. He told me how he still loved me…blah blah blah. Then I was served with papers without knowing he filed. Chump me still believed his manipulation at this point so you have a leg up. I kept forgiving. I kept feeding the kibbles. You were are a great soldier, a loving father (to our dog) and a wonderful husband. I took 100% of the blame for the demise of the marriage and I never stood in his way. I sent him emails for him to call and negotiate the divorce, he said he would but then didnt. It didnt matter how “nice” I was to him, he just did what he wanted to do like always. No concern for me, my life, well being etc. it was this process that allowed me to see him for who he really i, a very sick and twisted selfish individual. Again, you are ahead of me on this one…
    My point is kibbles won’t work to your advantage. We finally reached an agreement 5months after d day. I gave him more than his victim self asked for (I had the money) not him and that still wasnt good enough because at that point hie knew he lost his cake. He knew I was no longer a plan b to go back to if things with ow failed.
    I agree with CL, he will twist everything you say against you. I applaud your strength and perseverance, you will get through this. You can do it without the kibbles.

    • I’m glad you finally woke up to who he really was Ashley. I did the same thing as you. Just takes some time for your heart to believe what your brain and eyes know. They are pieces of shit.

    • Thank you, Ashley. I am gathering my strength to do this, with or without kibbles. I will give him kibbles if it would help the exit, but collective experience says that it probably won’t. It will be easier for me to lose the kibbles, since it takes emotional energy to muster them up and utter them. Energy I could be putting somewhere else.

      BTW, I am lucky that I don’t believe anything he says, however, it wasn’t always that way. For a few months after dday I was hopeing (=hopium) that things might actually change with him. It took months for me to realize that it is a sinking ship I need to flee.

  • I’ve experimented a little with trying to manipulate the situation by controlling the flow of kibbles; but if it’s possible, I haven’t stumbled across the formula. It’s like trying to keep a fire going steady by pouring gas on it. It might appear to work for a little while but in the end you don’t have the ability to control the fire.

    • yes, plus I think it’s hard for chumps because we are genuine people so trying to manipulate and pretend is almost impossible for us. And we have a hard time believing the person we’re dealing with (especially because that person is our spouse or former spouse) is not being genuine either. I know I have a hard time wrapping my brain around it at least. But it is getting easier for me to not trust him with anything or believe him about anything.

      • Yes Erica, very good point. I’m completely out of my league and out of my element in an emotional war. I have the fatal flaws of listening, empathizing, and assuming good intentions. Kay H really nailed it when she talked about the heart lagging the head. It’s civil war in my body.

        • I’ve tried the ‘dribble of kibbles’ approach too with the ex, but realized it makes no difference. In the past, he’s always been a crabby, negative person who got a bit better when EVERYTHING was going his way, and a lot worse when it wasn’t. He’s still exactly the same, and I wouldn’t take him back this time, so things are NOT going his way. I have to keep setting limits to his entitled behaviour, and he doesn’t like it.

          But since I don’t engage in any emotion or tussles when I set limits, it cools off much faster. NC rocks!

          • Mine is that way, too……is EVERYTHING is going his way, he is pleasant, even fun to be around. But the slightest annoyance, or reminder of responsbility sets him off. It was as if he was offended by the daily tasks and responsibilities of life. Before dday, I would do the heavy lifting of everyday life so there would be fewer things to impact him. If there was a big issue, I learned very quickly to take care of it myself, when possible. I soon realized I could not live in reality AND keep my husband insulated from all of life’s daily occurances.

            So, back to what you said, it makes sense that the “dribble of kibbles” won’t work. Giving him lots of kibbles whne I was married didn’t even work all that well.
            Glad to hear NC worked. Gives me hope for a better reality for me and my kids.

  • Duck,

    There is no way to control or manage him. The analogy that people get eaten by grizzlies that way is accurate. Think of him as a wild animal, you do not ever know when his instinct will kick in and he turns on you. You never know what an animal is thinking, just as you will never know what an NPD is thinking.

    I don’t think that THEY know.

    I am also going through this right now. I am making my exit plans, but I made some serious mistakes. Mine is like that too, with the instant rage when he feels slighted or perceives a threat. It is unnerving. He seems like the best father, absolutely obsessed with our little girl, always hovering over her as her “protector”.

    What that actually is, Duck, is a way to keep you crippled and dependent on him. That’s it. They don’t WANT you to become independent, for if you do, he runs the risk of you seeing him for what he is–a narcissistic, insecure, bully who knows, deep down, that nobody loves him (and rightly so).

    Exposure is huge. You MUST either develop a support system of family and friends, where you, on a daily basis, let them ALL know exactly what is being said and done–or you need to rely on professionals, secretly.

    I made the mistake of confronting my husband with nothing but an email from an anonymous person. I had known that my husband had cheated before, on his high school girlfriend and with a girl whose boyfriend came over later and beat the shit out of him (he almost lost his eye because of it).

    He also was pushing hard to date me while I was still engaged to another man. Huge red flags all over the place, but I wanted to be with this charming person who “made me feel safe” (what’s with this guns/security/military thing and these bullying narcissitic assholes?)

    Unfortunately for me, when I received the email on D-Day, I confronted him and demanded he explain himself. I got the most convoluted, brain twisting, gravity defying bullshit story I’ve ever heard. I’m highly educated and am the breadwinner in our house (he is unemployed), but I cannot understand how he thought I would believe even half of this concoction.

    Unfortunately, Duck, even when you have proof, even when you have witnesses, even when you KNOW WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT that this person is the scum of the earth and you need to get away from him, he will say and do ANYTHING to keep his gravy train or meal ticket or “good reputation” or whatever it is that is important to him (and believe me, it’s not you).

    Although I made the huge mistake of confronting him–it just drove his affair underground and made him super paranoid, making getting actual proof even harder–I have managed to get the proof that I need legally.

    I see that you are doing what I tried to do–get something from him in the form of peace and stable behavior, something that you can predict.

    You really can’t get that from him. He’s not capable, it’s not in him to be stable in any way. I am slowly accepting that my STBX (I have not filed yet, i am not completely ready, but i am also lining myself up very well.) is certifiable and dangerous. Just like a cornered wild animal, when you have so much proof on them, when you’ve gone to their friends and family with your information to try and get him to straighten up and fly right (another worthless waste of time and energy. he just lied to them as well)—they will fight viciously to get out of said corner.

    NOT to reconcile. NOT to be truly sorry. NOT to make up for the harm. They only want out of the corner so that they can hide for awhile, lick their wounds, and come back at you. It’s bizarre and unnerving to watch and experience. Particularly as the mother of a young child.

    I have had countless confrontations with him since D-Day in December. He lied about what I know now is a yearlong affair with a local woman.

    If it hadn’t been for another family member that was also contacted by this anonymous person (although i was supremely angry at how everyone else was being told at the same time as i was being informed, i can see now that the only concern of this person was for me to open my eyes), I may have been lulled after awhile into believing his bullshit story that “it’s just someone out to make trouble for . would NEVER do that to or to family. i SWEAR on daughter’s life that never slept with that woman!” was true.

    Best advice, that I wish I had had in December? DO NOT TELL HIM ANYTHING. I did the “quasi-kibbles” thing too. It doesn’t work. If there is even a hint of trouble, for some reason, they do hear and respond to the kibbles, but they are cynical now about them. He does fan every ember, hoping to reignite the flame of trust, so that he can return to doing what he wants, when he wants, with whom he wants and for me to go back to being the trusting wife, financing his lazy lifestyle and STOP ASKING HIM QUESTIONS.

    Yes, it is very much how dare you, around here. I am getting things together. I am exposing him to friends and family quietly. Thankfully, my family is very very close and they don’t like him (never did), so they are keeping everything quiet and helping me devise an airtight escape plan. My STBX has an arsenal here, as well as in other places (the paranoia thing again) and although I do not believe that he would harm anyone deliberately, he is like a cornered animal, am I sure of what he may do in a moment of pure panic and rage when I drop the final bomb on him?

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know what he is going to do. I never thought that mine would do some of the truly disgusting things he’s done, so take that and run with it, he is capable of ANYTHING.

    I’ve learned too, keep quiet. Don’t provoke, don’t threaten, don’t cajole, don’t cry (that’s kibbles to them), don’t try and figure it out. I leave in the morning early, I stay at work as much as possible and make my plans from there, I talk to friends and family from work with a separate computer and phone that I purchased without his knowledge (it’s nice being the breadwinner and pay all the bills. you have that flexibility of financing your way). I’ve spoken to a private investigator about how to defend myself against intrusions he may plant for me when I am at home (I never speak on the phone about this situation while at home or in my car). Luckily, I don’t need to pay the investigator to follow him, I already am being given all of the material proof that I need.

    I’m highly educated and well financed, I know how to hide money and put aside what I need. Not everyone has that advantage. Use what you can, rely on your friends and family, keep them informed of EVERY DETAIL. I made a journal at work on my new secret computer and log every day– copies of emails, texts, and conversations that I have with him, events, contact with others.

    What’s helpful with the journal is that I can go back and reference something he’s said or done—that he is now either denying he said it or did it or “doesn’t remember” (does anybody else’s do that?! do they realize how stupid that makes them look?).

    When I am ready, and it will probably be when my daughter goes to school full time this fall, I will have almost a year of information gathered. I’ve lawyered up and have been sending copies of everything to them.

    IT’S EXHAUSTING, and you “shouldn’t” have to do it…in a civilized world, why should you have to live this way?? But just because we THINK the world should be a certain way, doesn’t make it so.

    I’ve been in contact with the anonymous person many times (although now I know who they are, and I am eternally grateful for their intervention) and even though I am supremely angry at the OW, I am almost grateful to her as well.

    Believe it or not, and I know I’m going to get shit for this. I don’t know her and I don’t want to know her. I don’t want her around my daughter if I can do anything about it (and my lawyer says that I can, with my proof, so I intend on implementing that as well).

    I am almost grateful for her. My husband was “almost caught” several years ago with a neighbor woman, but I chose to believe his stupid story. This time, with the affair that new OW was willing to have with him….I was given the courage to believe MYSELF and MY OWN EYES/EARS/INTELLECT and not his bullshit.

    It’s been unbearable, just seeing his face every day, paying the bills he racks up (I have put a halt to the more superfluous expenditures), hearing his voice and how he acts like he’s not been up to anything and that nothing happened (GET OVER IT, ALREADY!). I just want to punch him in the face—but I am going to do just what Tracy said to do—-let them live in this fog of “maybe I’m going to get out of this with my meal ticket intact”—and then sucker punch him so hard, he’ll never recover.

    What’s nice is that everyone knows. I’ve shown everyone the emails, instant messages, and photos that I have received from my anonymous benefactor. It’s so nice to have a family that will keep my secret, be on my side and will help me when the time comes. It’s nice to not be alone.

    • “I was given the courage to believe MYSELF and MY OWN EYES/EARS/INTELLECT and not his bullshit.”

      What’s the phrase? Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?

    • You are doing it right Solo, I learned the hard way that the best way to stop them is sucker punch and be relentless because they lie so well you are tempted to believe they will be rational but that is not true. They will take you to the cleaners, hurt you as much as they can and tell everyone YOU hurt them. Hit hard, hit fast, be relentless – and they will back down.

      • Sorry, forgot to answer your question: “What’s helpful with the journal is that I can go back and reference something he’s said or done—that he is now either denying he said it or did it or “doesn’t remember” (does anybody else’s do that?! do they realize how stupid that makes them look?).”

        Yes, I did this and it helped emormously because the gaslighting was broken. Also as I mentioned on another post, I started recording his calls and listening to them when I was calm, that was a real eye opener.

        • Dat—YES!!! “the gaslight is broken”. I actually watched him one day, without him knowing I was there–how he acted, what he did–and he said to me later, “What you saw is not what you THINK you saw!”

          Relentless. Yep. I have been called that and more. Heartless, lethal, b**ch, conniving—you name it. But the thing is….why would I ever feel that I had to do that if there was nothing to defend myself against?

          And the lies. Sometimes they’re strung out, with time in between them…and sometimes it’s literally seconds as he contradicts himself. I said once that I “felt guilty” about what our daughter was going to go through…and he said, “Yes. I do too.” I was genuinely interested in what Mr. Cheaterpants was going to say he felt guilty about so I asked him.

          Know what he said? (without missing a beat) “I don’t know. I just threw that out there.”

          Reminds me of that woman who said that she told her husband that it scared the life out of her how easily he lied, and he AGREED.

          • The lies are still some of the most messed up things in the whole skein of “fucked-up-edness” (the technical term).

            Andy emailed me that I had always been ashamed of him and that was why I had to build up his work history on the pre-school’s application.

            O.O Huh?

            So, when I stated he’d been manager of a retail store (before I even met him) I was lying because I was repeating what he had told me? When I said he baked a couple thousand loaves a day (because he told me they baked off 900 loaves at a time, and did two to three runs on the hearth oven each day), I was lying because I was repeating what he told me.

            Told so many lies, Andy couldn’t even keep track of which lie he told to who.

        • Absolutely! Then it’s usually followed with “I know, you remember everything.” He even lies to the point that, I believe, there are times that he truly doesn’t know teh difference between the truth and a lie. His GF before me used to tease him and say he could open a “justification service” and make a fortune. He was proud of this and thought it was funny. I explained that “justification” is a euphemism for “lie.”

          Wuf… did you ever bust him, then hear “well if you already knew the answer, why did you ask me?”

    • I’m married to a man considered by his family to be “emotional” in that he can go off into rages. Do I think that he’s normally violent? No, but divorce isn’t normal, and I can’t predict what he’ll do. At one point, I’d considered that he might be so guilt-ridden that he’d sign a more generous settlement, but that was when I’d just discovered the affair and the lawyer had indicated that she’d seen this happen. However, OW has been twice divorced, and she has a financial interest in STBX, so I believe that she’d not let him cave in without a fight.

      The current goals are much like yours, Solo: shore myself up financially, let people know what’s going on, and then exit as he’s served. I’m only just now making a salary that’s strong enough to let me live independently. I’m paying down my bills, shoring up my credit, making a budget, and putting aside cash.

      I’m not under threat of physical violence at this point, but I agree that I have no idea of whether he’d react like that cornered animal. I have dogs, and while my older rescue dog loves me to pieces and has attached himself to me like glue, I’ve overstimulated him to the point where if I’d reached into his lair to get the chew toy, he’d bite me–not because he wants to hurt me, but because there is no room in his head for anything other than lashing out. I can see the same thing happening with STBX.

      • Trust me on this comment, I really am going somewhere with it. When I went to film school and completed my final exams, I was faced with making a student film. I quickly learned it was as difficult to make a standard 10 minutes student film as it was a full length, hour film. So I did. The title is “FERAL” and it is about wild hogs and the dangers they pose to society. Now for the point: When I was a child, playing with a little puppy, I handled it so much it finally bit me. My daddy said, “Man or beast, once cornered, can be dangerous.” Thus the plot to my movie. Cornered wild hogs can be extremely dangerous. There was also a couple of murders in the movie (not blatant, but done a couple of folks) and so, it showed that a man, cornered by a woman can also become very dangerous. In a way, cornering him is exactly what you are doing. Use extreme caution and when the time comes to leave, doing quickly, with as little drama as possible and keep yourself safe. It is still better than staying with the low life. MUCH better!

  • Like CL said, these people are bullies. They do not stop beating kids up because you gave them all your milk money. They stop when the teacher comes over and stops them. I don’t want to scare you, but there are other people who tried playing nice with former spouses who were prone to rages and violent behavior. To quote:

    “He rages, smears, and, at his worst moments, verbally bullies the kids and me. Once, he drove drunk with one of our kids in the car, despite protests from onlookers. He has beat up his own dog, in front of us. He collects guns and plays violent video games (endlessly). He uses guns at his job and has them loaded and handy all the time. Enjoys getting into fist fights.”

    My aunt’s husband was an alcoholic. He never physical hurt anyone, though he didn’t hold back on the emotional or verbal. Still, when my aunt filed for divorce one of the first things her former brother in law did was go and remove every gun from the house.

    Protect yourself. Do not let the courts think your children should be left alone with a man so criminally negligent as to drive drunk when he had no reason to try to hurt you. Think about what he is capable of when he wants to do harm.

    Please. I don’t want to read about you next in the papers if your husband decides murder suicide is the way to go.

  • I wanted to leave a response specifically to this part of your letter “I don’t think he will get physically violent”

    When your abuser slowly escalates the abuse over time you become desensitized to it, it becomes your “normal”. You tamp down your intuition over time until it is completely broken. My subconscious even sent me nightmares and I didn’t heed those, the book the “Gift of Fear” helped me regain trust in my own self after I got away.

    The point is, I did not think my husband would really hurt me either because I’d seen those rages for so long. I didn’t notice that at some point he’d started pushing me away or poking me or a number of other physical things that seemed minor by that point but were important. I didn’t notice because it was still that slow, so slow escalation of violence and threat. You said in your letter that he beat his dog in front of you, that scares me right there. That is a major escalation.

    Trust your gut, not your brain when it comes to fear of your husband. Believe that part of you that seems irrational because it’s NOT irrational, that is your intuition fighting to get to your logical brain that has become normalized to the abuse. I wish I’d listened my intuition before I had a gun in my face. Don’t make my mistake.

    And when you feel frozen and unable to move forward, I think that is because you are fighting your truth because the truth hurts so much and some of our innate defenses are good at protecting our psyche but not as good at protecting our bodies because we have a “normal” that is really not normal at all.

    • I have seen that book, the “Gift of Fear,” I should read it, sooner than later. I am kicking myself because I didn’t listen to my gut instincts early on, which told me that this guy doesn’t respect other people’s boundaries. I think I have become desensitized. When I think of all the crap behavoir he has pulled, I cringe. But on the other hand, legally, I don’t have much proof – a documented history in my own jounral, a few calls into a local DV-shelter (kept on record but only when subpeonad by a judge), and a few witnesses to the drunk-driving incident. And those witnesses are family-members to my ex, so who knows if they would testify. I feel like I legally have a whole lot of nothin’. My fear is real, but I don’t have much of a paper-trail to prove it. But you’re right, I still need to listen to my gut, and have lots of plans in place in case things get scary (I hope that they don’t!).

      • (hugs) Ducklinerupper, I know it’s hard, my ex rarely did anything in front of witnesses. They know what they do is wrong and they cover it. I am so lucky I had no children or I am not sure how I would have got out. I am a strong, independent woman and this shit happened to me. Don’t think there is any thing weak about you, it is not you, it is him and you will find a way out. Once you start be relentless, don’t get hopeless, take no prisoners, do whatever it takes. He does not love you, he may even hate you for your strength, that makes him dangerous if you falter. I wish I could help

      • I wish I could tell you that its okay to stay there until he escalates enough that you have a water tight case against him, but its not safe for you to do that.

        Consider the two worst-case scenarios: a) You get out of there according to your current exit strategy, and at worst you get joint custody and he gets one or two overnights a week with the kids.

        Or b) You stay in the home waiting for hard evidence, and he rages and kills you, leaving your kids orphans (as he isn’t a real father), and in his care if he can hide his actions.

        Or c) You stay in the home waiting for hard evidence, and he rages and kills you and the kids.

        The first person you have to save is YOURSELF. Your kids need you alive to fight for them, and protect them, and love on them, and be the responsible, stable parent they are relying on you to be.

        • How weird. I was talking with my therapist yesterday and I was saying that looking back on my early relationship with STBX and seeing how his relationship with the final OW is playing out made me realise how he (along with his family) operate: they slowly, slowly,slowly break down your boundaries. Something happens? You speak up and say that’s not acceptable. They go along with it, seemingly, but then they break a different boundary….it’s slow and insidious and you don’t even notice that they’ve got a small hammer and chisel and they’re chink chink chinking away at you.

          Therapist laughed and said ‘I’ve been trying to tell you this for over a year but we all need to take the time we need to see it for ourselves’. It’s kind of sad to see this young OW getting sucked into his crazy but then again, she had something I didn’t at the beginning: she knows he’s a serial cheater and that he did a lot of horrible things and sadly she thinks their ‘love’ will be different. I had no clue so I forgive myself a bit. Her? When someone tells you the truth about someone listen and listen hard. I didn’t want him back but I think she thought I did and was spouting sour grapes. Unfortunately she’s going to learn the hard way. And I think she already is.

          • That’s interesting Nord, like I said earlier his relationship with the OW has already deteriorated in just a few months. Wouldn’t be surprised if she caught him cheating, or vice/versa. One thing seems obvious, she’s younger and has the energy/stupidity to fight with him, I just pretty much ignored him in the end and that’s what I think finally did it. I’m older now and stopped believing in him a long time ago. I wish them luck and I hope they move far far away! My rollercoaster has slowed down quite a bit but I’m ready for the ride to completely stop…

        • I hear you – I’ve already moved across the country, with my kids. The distance helps me feel a bit safer. I haven’t let him know of my plans to divorce him yet, but we have been living in different states for months.

          When I tell him I have no plans to reunite, he will likely get very, very mad. But I’m hoping he will calm down before he has a chance to make the long journey. In any case, I would have plently of warning before he showed up at my door. If he threatens me, it’s probably a good idea that I go to a shelter (with my kids) to wait it out. And hopefully, he would calm down in a few weeks, at most. Because I don’t want to live in fear forever. That would really, really suck.

    • DDW,
      I had nightmares too. On and off over the years some of them so vivid I would wake up furious at him…I never said anything to him though – I seriously thought I was crazy.

      • Had another one list night. The first ones I had were very graphic of him having sex with other women. Then they turned into him hurting me, and laughing at me WITH the other women. Now, they are me needing his help, usually because other people are hurting me or my kids (he’s not their father… thank Gods) and him abandoning me… with other women.

        Yup… shoulda paid more attention.

        • Right before dday, I had nightmares, too……vivid dreams about natural disasters. Tornadoes leveling the house to the ground. Fires. It was horrible, felt so real. My subconscious was trying to tell me sometihng.

  • Thank you. This is very timely. I have been lurking around here for a little bit and I find this site so incredibly helpful!

    My situation is similar but a little different. I found out that my stbx was having an affair with his secretary. DD was February 22. This was not his first indiscretion. I asked him to leave the house and he refused. He works overseas, so he said he would not leave until he was ready to go back to work. I was a mess, very fragile and I didn’t have enough left in me to force the issue. He is verbally abusive and my self-esteem had been compromised to such a point, that I wasn’t able to fight back or think sensibly for that matter. I moved into my son’s room in the basement and waited it out for the next three weeks, until he went back to work.

    Since his departure, I have been working on moving myself forward and healing. I have been packing up the contents of the house and finding that pretty therapeutic. Up until this weekend, I had been doing pretty well with the NC. I blew it this weekend by responding to an e-mail that he sent. I told him exactly how hurt I was and how his betrayal had affected my life. Of course, he didn’t care. He didn’t assume any responsibility and just threw everything back at me. Sigh, lesson learned. I want to kick myself though. I feel like I have just thrown away everything that I have accomplished up to this point. I guess, today is another day and I can start again. Onward and upward.

    Anyhow, in my situation, I own the house. I bought it myself. He is the one that needs to leave. He is planning to take pretty much everything in the house. We were not married, but have been living common-law for nine years. I know that if I went to court, I would be entitled to half of everything, but at this point, I just want to end this nightmare. Possessions can be replaced. I just want it over and done with.

    Here is the problem. I have asked him for his ETA to Canada, so that he can collect his belongings. He never responds with a date. He gaslights, blames, guilts and is just generally mean. He avoids giving me an answer. He wants to keep me off-guard. Power and control. In his last e-mail to me, he said that he plans to be home “some time” in June and would I please plug in the 5th wheel in the backyard so that he has somewhere to stay. I don’t want him living in my backyard. I don’t want that for my children. I don’t want that for me. He is a bully and feels entitled to stay there while he tries to find another place to live.

    Now, the logical thing would be to move the 5th wheel. Unfortunately, the 5th wheel has been lifted to accommodate the lifted truck that he sold, so I have no way of moving it. I don’t know anyone else with a lifted truck and the hitch in the box. So that is a problem.
    I am afraid that not letting him stay there will make everything much worse. The only way I am going to be able to enforce this, is to call the police and he will go ballistic if that happens. He was already incarcerated for 18 months for spousal abuse (ex-wife). (I know, I know. You don’t have to say anything). There may not be an immediate repercussion but trust me, it will happen.

    He is explosive by nature. He is violent. He has threatened to dress in camo, stand across the street in the forested area and take aim with his bow. He has assured me that I won’t see it coming and it will be quick and painless. I know how horrible he can be. I have witnessed the horrific behaviour he has inflicted upon his ex-wife for many years.

    My children are not in danger. It is women that he hates. I have no family here. I do have friends who have offered support, but it’s almost like you don’t want to involve them because he is such a loose cannon. They know what he is all about. We live in a small town (his home town) and although I am not very vocal about the situation, without sharing details with them, I have revealed to a few people that we are no longer together and they were very forthcoming with their opinion of him and how dangerous he is.

    In addition to his hard-charging attitude, my stbx has financial strength behind him. He has an upper management position with an oil company. He makes a ridiculous amount of money, tax free. I, on the other hand work two jobs in order to keep the kids fed and a roof over our heads. In terms of lawyers and restraining orders and similar, I can’t even hope to retain a lawyer or pay for any legal assistance.

    I just don’t know what to do at this point. Do I offer the 5th wheel kibble and hope that he finds a place, cleans out his stuff and is on his way without incident? Any other options that I have considered will incite him and I will face long-term consequences. I know this to be true. He has spent the last 12 years of his life getting back at his ex-wife. She also lives in this small town.

    Short term pain for long-term gain? I just don’t know.

    • You contact an abuse hotline and you get your ducks in a row! This guy is DANGEROUS, and there ARE resources out there for you – USE THEM. They will help you get things like restraining orders and lawyers.

      FIND A WAY to get the 5th wheel moved, whatever it takes, and pack up his stuff and put it in storage. Then get a restraining order to keep him not only away from the house but away from your neighbourhood.

      And then you need to seriously consider moving to another town. ‘Cause you know that everything he’s done to his first ex, you’ll get too.

      • Thank you Karen & Duck,

        Sometimes I just need a reminder to stay the course and use the resources at my disposal. I can’t let the trepidation of what might happen, get in the way of what I can make happen right now. First, I am going to try and track down the guy who bought the truck. Hopefully he still has the 5th wheel hitch in the back and for a few bucks, he may agree to take it to a trailer park nearby.

        Second, I am going to call a couple of movers. I had been reluctant to move his stuff because he has a lot of antiques and you would have to know that be it truth or fiction, “something” is going to get damaged and it will be fault. So screw it. I am hiring movers. Shirley to goodness they have insurance.

        Thirdly, I am going to contact Victim Services to see what resources they have concerning legal assistance and restraining orders.

        I know that moving is probably a good idea but I can’t do that. I fought long and hard to be able to buy this house with my own money. It is the home that my children have grown up in so they would be giving up friends and school and everything they have known. I also have two fairly high profile jobs in town, so they would be hard to give up as well.

        Just FYI, the last ex wife was actually his third. I don’t know if there was a history of violence with the first two.

        Thank you for the kick in the butt that I needed to get moving and make the changes that I am able to make with the resources I currently have. One step at a time.

    • Oh my goodness, you have been through a lot. He told you he would shoot you with a cross-bow? He sounds very scary.

      I agree with Karen – move out of town. You can short-sell if you have to. You can rent. You can foreclose. Whatever. The key is to get physically distance. You have plenty of time to vacate while he is away. It sounds like you don’t have many connections to keep you there, anyhow. If you stay, he will make you life difficult, whether he is living in the 5th wheel or not.

      • It would be great if your STBX settled down pretty quickly and you felt safe, but keep the moving option in mind, if necessary. It won’t do you or your kids a lot of good to have that house you fought so hard for, or the two good jobs, if he kills you.

        And even if he’s being relatively calm, do any and all talking to him in public places with people around. Keeps the rage way more under control!

        Read the Bancroft book – BIG eye opener! It’s all about the control for them, and that’s ALL based in their entitlement.

        • Thank you, Karen. I will get my hands on the Bancroft book.

          I do hope that his enthusiasm chills, but having watched him in action with his ex, history shows it builds with momentum and being ignored or challenged just enrages him. This whole leaving thing is relatively new, so I am trying to maintain a level head and disassociate myself from his reality. He is a gas lighter and I am crazy, stupid and blowing everything out of proportion.

          I am trying not to run zero to 60 and create drama where it doesn’t exist. I don’t know if this is making any sense but he has always told me that he is a great guy and that his incarceration was just something manufactured in his ex wife’s mind to extort money from him and screw him over. He was just horribly misunderstood. I believed him, because I wanted to. I had hoped so much that it was all a big mistake.

          I am an educated woman so there is no excuse for me to have bought into the stories. I just wanted to believe. Now, the more I am opening my mind and finding out things about him, the more I feel for his ex-wife and her truths. I play back in my mind, the things he has told me over the years and it has become clear that it was all a lie.

          I will take steps to make sure that we are all safe. Unfortunately, I know he will arrive without any announcement. Because he is overseas, his flights generally come in late. I am hoping to find a way to get his 5th wheel moved this weekend.

          Thank you for your support.

    • Oh my goodness, you have been through a lot.

      I agree with Karen – move out of town. You can short-sell if you have to. You can rent. You can foreclose. Whatever. The key is to get physically distance. You have plenty of time to vacate while he is away – this is a golden opportunity for you. It sounds like you don’t have many connections to keep you there, anyhow. If you stay, he will make you life difficult, whether he is living in the 5th wheel or not. Your house may be have been hard-won, but it is just another possession, in the end. It’s not worth keeping the house if it means you will live in fear of your scary ex weilding a cross-bow from you across the street. There are other houses, ones in which you will feel safe. That is priceless.

    • Rent a storage unit, haul his stuff in there and pay for two months. Afterwards, send him an e-mail stating what you have done. Then state that the 5th wheel will not be available. And lock it up.

  • Janet June 2, 2013 at 7:17 am
    Karma never forgets an address! And good for you. Quite frankly I would have crumbled


    . Toni June 2, 2013 at 9:20 am
    Oh Janet,
    I came very close. But when the first words out of his mouth were about what “she did to him” and how the landlord “wouldn’t give him his money back” that saved my butt. I was raised to believe that no matter what all people are human beings, and I do admit to being a little down this morning, but I did the right thing. It would have just started the whole cycle over again and I don’t want/need those people F-ing up my life again. Besides, he’s doing drugs too, I asked him. And I can never see him cry now though without thinking it’s fake. I am so grateful for this site, I know through everyone’s sharing what will happen if I DO give in….
    Happy B-Day Toni a reminder of your post to me yesterday Hang in there.

    • Yesterday was my birthday, 66, I am now 4 years from 70. Different when you think about it like that. Takes a mental adjustment. H wanted me to have a steak on my birthday. He hasn’t done anything for me in years, no birthday, Christmas, mother’s day, nothing, so I did not want anything from him. I certainly did not want him to think he made my day more enjoyable. But I decided I had been on a crapy diet while he is not eating well, so I relented. I bought a new grill for the house where we (the we is temporary) are moving. I hauled it to the new house. Then I brought groceries for a meal. I cooked it here at the rental cottage and then hauled him, dinner and that damn steak to the new house, which is over five miles away. I figured out how to hook up the grill to the propane bottle, lit the first try, cooked the steak, sat on two lawn chairs and ate over tv trays. The weirdest birthday I have ever spent, but actually, is was quite pleasant. Lord give me patience! Gave myself a nice present…his stock broker e-mailed and suggested he transfer h’s stock in my name as h is not well enough right now to handle some signators, notarizing is a real pain, as some one has to come to the house, etc. I sent back, “You know, I thought that was just the dandiest idea.” AND HE DID. I got the transfer pdf. Turned out to be a pretty nice birthday after all.

      • LOL Yoder! I can just picture you hauling all that stuff around, not to compare situations, because I have it alot easier than many of you but it always seemed like everything was complicated when he was here, so I totally appreciatr the “having a steak” visual. I stayed home alone and had some salmon, just me and the cats, and that was just fine, and not fraught with tension. Happy belated BD! glad you got such a wonderful present!

  • A company that sells trailers will have a vecihile able to move the 5th wheel. Whatever do not let him back on the property. Move all his stuff to a stogage facility pay for a few months rent and send him the key. Get a restraining order. Hard to say move but everyone else is probably right. He sounds scary!

    • Thank you Janet. That is a great idea! I bet they will have something that can move it. Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees. The painfully obvious, just doesn’t come to mind right away. 🙂

      • Don’t feel bad. Clarity in the face of danger is sometime difficult. Use to own a smaller trailer. hang in there and let us know how you are doing

    • I love the idea of moving his stuff to a storage locker and giving him a deadline in which to collect it.

      He says he’ll be back in June? So rent a locker through Aug 31st, if he doesn’t take care of his shit, or start paying for the locker, he can take it up with the storage companies policies of disposal.

      I love this idea Janet!

      • I think it is a good idea as well. I looked into “PODS” which can be delivered, filled at my pace and then delivered to a storage place. I think I will probably go ahead with that idea, but because I live far from the city, it will cost $500 to $600 for delivery of the POD, then extra mileage to get it taken back to the facility and then rental for the storage. I am easily into the project for a grand. I will have to replace everything in the house so cash is at a premium right now. I guess I will just take one day at a time in terms of replacing items. My other challenge is the garage. He has sleds and quads, boats and golf carts and a ridiculous amount of tools and compressors and crap that definitely won’t fit into the POD in addition to the contents of the house. I suppose the best scenario here is to leave the garage contents for him to pick up. This way, he won’t have to enter the house, just the garage.

        • I am afraid you would be defeating the purpose of riding yourself of his stuff and instigating contact. Email him that the remainder of his property may be tranfered to another location no later than, let’s say Aug. 1, by someone other than himself. Then get that restraining order. To be honest, please follow CL’s caution and have NO CONTACT with him. An attorney should make the notifications. This way, there are no questions he has to ask you, nothing. Be safe. You can do this, and there are a bunch of here that hope you get out soon!

          • Thank you, Yoder. Happy belated birthday!!! I am glad that there was a bright spot in your day!!!

            I have to see what legal assistance is available to me. I am not sure if I will be able to hire a lawyer. Irregardless, my objective is NC. Getting his stuff off of my property is a huge pain, but probably the quickest means to the end. If it is not here, he has no reason to be here and we have nothing more to discuss.

  • CL, thank you for sharing your advice and experience. And thank you to everyone else who is posting advice as well – it is very, very helpful. And I don’t feel so alone.

    CL, you said you when you left, you “packed and vacated a 3000 square-foot house in under four hours. My neighbor later told me that night she could hear his yelling and cursing, when he walked into an empty house.”

    Ha! That is kind of – completely – awesome. I have daydreamed of doing this exact thing. Considered it, actually. Then, after talking with my lawyer, realized that my exit needed to be different, to accomplish my goals with the kids. But boy, I would have enjoyed doing that. I will live vicariously through your victory.

    It’s hard to hear, but now that you say it, you have a good point about the “kibble strategy” being flawed. There won’t ever be enough kibbles for him. Certainly not enough to span 18 years of shared custody. You have an excellent point, too, that the kibbles might actually work against me legally. A slew of emails documenting how I think he’s a great dad and the kids love him? He’s bound to use that against my allegations of his rages.

    As much as I want to try and mitigate this situation, it sounds like it probably just won’t work. I may try some kibbles until my exit is complete…maybe. Honestly, I am so *done* with him. I just want a new start, on my own, without the fear. Without having to say to myself “If I say this, how will he react?” and trying to mold every interaction to keep his anger tamed down (as if that is even possible, which, after years of living with him, I know it isn’t possible to control or even predict). If i just go strictly “no contact” it will be easier for me. I can stop trying doing the mental anguish. Stop constructing my words so carefully in order to feed kibbles to calm the Kraken.

    • Dear Duck –

      I really admire you for taking such a brave path. You are saving your children from this terror.

      I think the advice so far is spot on, especially about documenting all of the abusive/raging behavior.

      Just have one more thought: although I agree that you should not tell him about a potential safe harbor, or when and what you’re doing, make sure he knows you have made your situation clear to the authorities. A true raging lunatic will not think twice about harming you, but, in reality it sounds you are just dealing with a bully. Most bullies bow down to authority quite easily.

      I saw this advice recently and it made a lot of sense: all these idiots who say they just “lose it” and beat and kill their partners, never seem to just “lose it” in police stations or at work with their bosses, do they? Nope. Make sure he knows everyone is watching him. If you are fortunate to have allies, make him very, very aware.

      • Yes, make him aware that other people are watching. Whenever I had to communicate with my cheating wife during the divorce process, I always cc’d several of my family members. Not bcc, but cc, so she could see them. I wanted her to know that they knew what the issues and motivations were. This was especially important during a window when I realized she was still in an active affair and I had a $1 million life insurance policy with her as the sole beneficiary and was working to change that to make my minor sons the beneficiaries with my mom as the trustee.

        Cowards are less likely to bully when they think someone might find out the truth. As the saying goes, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

      • Nomar & Ananda – You’re right, I think he is mostly just a big, scary bully. Who *will* do scary-bad things if he can get away with it. But he doesn’t really want to get in trouble. Although it is hard to tell the bullies from the true raging lunatics, I think he leans more on the side of the big bully. Still scary, though. And I think he would do *much* more if he could get away with it.

        That is a good point to let him know that other people are clued in and are paying attention, watching.

    • Dear Duck,

      What you just wrote really strikes a chord for me: “Stop constructing my words so carefully in order to feed kibbles to calm the Kraken.”

      I am in the process of divorcing my NPD husband and this past weekend I had to go to the home that we shared for 7 years(I had moved out a year ago while we were still “working”on putting things back together, just giving each other space to do so) to clear out the rest of my belongings and the split of the furniture/artwork etc. We had a walk thru Friday night to confirm and identify what I was taking and what was his and staying. He was a ball of rage when I arrived with a mutual friend to accomplish this task. And of course he had to assert “control” and become a bully. Our mutual friend was shocked that my NPD would behave this way right in front of him. And all the while his phone was chirping in his hand with constant text messages of (supposed) support and encouragement from his latest Gin & Tonic (My STBX is a sex addict so I call the women he gets involved with by cocktail names as they are simply the latest drug or drink)

      My STBX-NPD was insisting that he would be present the next day during the big move out to make sure that my friends and I didn’t take anything that belonged to him. Fine. Early Saturday morning he sent a nasty email that sounded like an 8 yr old throwing a tantrum. So, I did what I had done for 7 years of our marriage and I constructed an email FULL of sweet, sweet kibbles for him to gobble up, savor, and save for later. Hoping to get him into a place where my friends and I would not be abused by him as we completed this difficult task. My letter worked. He ate the kibbles right up and when I arrived he told me he was going to do one last favor for me and he was going to leave and let my friends and me do our work in peace – and he got in his car and drove away.

      I was grateful that he made that decision and our work was much easier and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. *MY* big sigh of relief came as I drove away from the house and I thought how sad/ridiculous/etc. that I have had to carefully construct letters, emails, conversations for seven years to convince this man to simply behave/respond/act like a decent human being. And how grateful I am that I will no longer have to spend another moment of my precious time doing that anymore.

      Duck, I do not have children with this man. So, I have no advice for you or your situation as I assume you will need to continue some sort of communication, but only wanted to let you know I totally empathize with you. And I completely understand your thought process, because often it worked! I could almost always write or talk this man into behaving better (for about the next 10 minutes!!) So, it makes it look like a viable form of coping. But, having had NC for 2 full months before this past weekend and getting a taste of the clear-headed, sweet bliss of *not* having to use my brain and my heart and my time in this way, I’m here to tell you, encourage you, try to find another way. You should NOT have to communicate to manipulate basic decent behavior from this adult human being.

      I wish you the best, and I reiterate as I swim in the pool of NC, the water is mighty fine over here!

  • Great advice, CL. You really can’t win by placating bullies. You have to be cautious and take precautions, but be firm. The hard part is that the raging narcs generally are cowards/bullies and won’t go through on threats. But you can’t necessarily tell who is just a blowhard narc and who is someone worse off. CL’s advice is best. Don’t go it alone. Build support and work from that.

  • Duck – No contact was a foreign phrase to me two years ago. When I read what it meant, I thought I could never go NC with two kids. Well all it takes is alot of practice, and eventually you get it. Its much better than dealing with the bs. I am about 60% no contact now, and every lit bit makes a big difference.

    As for a lawyer, ask around, look at profiles for those in your area. I interviewed 3 different lawyers that were suggested to me. I went with the one I felt comfortable with. I also explained my predicament (not much cash) and he set me up with a payment plan. So look into that option. If that doesn’t work, check into local resources. Someone will help you as long as you reach out.

    Keep everything to yourself. I told very few people about what was going on so he wouldn’t be tipped off. My family had no idea how bad it was and once they knew they were more than willing to help. If you have some trusted friends, they’ll help too. Don’t let him move back – do as the others suggested and put his stuff in storage. I’m sure your friends can help. The POD may not be a good idea as it sits on your property it may alert someone who may contact him. Look for a self storage unit and take his stuff there.

    Get your important papers together or make copies of everything now and get them to a safe place – a friend’s or family’s home. Make sure you know how much is in his savings, pension and 401K and have documentation. Change your passwords on everything. Get your own bank account and credit card. Take your name off of joint credit cards. Plan, Plan, Plan!

    Living with an NPD sucks. I was married to one for 15 years. Here I am two years out and he won’t let go. Control and power. They feed off of it. So no kibbles for them. EVER.

    Stay strong. Life is so much better when you can find happiness.

  • I’m Sorry – I read the whole post and combined Duck’s and Serendipity001’s stories with my response.

    • Actually, it’s good advice to both of us. Me and Serendipity have different circumstances but a lot of the details for leaving are the same.

      Your advice along with other posters here have given me renewed strength to keep planning the best setup for my and my kids.

      • Stay strong and when you waiver, jump on here, there will always be someone with good advice, encouragement, maybe even a smile or two. CL has the answers to all the questions that matter.

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