Divorcing the Disordered — An Interview with Dr. George Simon

From an upcoming article for HuffPo Divorce…

Many of us might be inclined to describe our exes as “crazy.” After all, divorce doesn’t normally bring out the best in folks, but according to Dr. George Simon, some divorces may be exceptionally toxic because one party suffers from what he terms a “character disorder” (CD). Divorcing a disordered person is its own particular kind of hell, distinct from the usual miseries of divorce.

Simon is a psychologist who has spent over 25 years researching character disturbance and has written two acclaimed books on manipulative and other difficult personalities — “In Sheeps’ Clothing” and “Character Disturbance.” HuffPo blogger Tracy Schorn, who blogs about infidelity as “Chump Lady,” interviewed Simon about his views on divorcing someone with a character disorder.

TS: How do you know if you’re dealing with someone who is truly disordered, or someone who is just being a difficult jerk? I wonder if the distinction matters?

GS: CDs really can’t help themselves when it comes to being who they are. Yes, some are very adept at positive impression management and manipulation, but if you know what to look for, you can tell.

But first you must divest yourself of many popularly held but erroneous beliefs about human nature. Not everyone is struggling with fears and insecurities. Some people actually aren’t “hung up” enough about the things they do. And not everyone who puts on an air of confidence or superiority is compensating for low self-esteem. There really are people who sincerely think they’re all that and are therefore entitled to do as they please regardless of the consequences! People reveal their true character mainly in their core beliefs — which are reflected not in what they say, but in their actions.

Top CD attitude red flags: Entitlement, possessiveness, indifference to others, arrogance, disdain for obligation. The more of these attitudes they possess and the more intense these attributes are, the more character impaired the person is.

TS: How does someone who is character disturbed behave differently in a divorce? Is it more contentious?

GS: There are hundreds of examples. But here are a few:

First, it’s not about acknowledging failure in the marital relationship, separating, and moving on. Rather, it’s about punishing, destroying, or making someone else’s life miserable for daring to say “no” or declare an end to an abusive situation. Character assassination becomes the norm. The CD will arm their attorneys with examples of their ex’s “questionable behavior,” but which are amplified to such an extent to paint the worst possible picture of the person.

Perhaps even more important is the ordeal the CD wants to be sure the ex-partner goes through. They’ll bring out such big cannons with their lawyer, that the other party has to spend much time, energy, and money either defending themselves or just trying to survive the ordeal that they have no time, energy, or money left to advocate for a stronger position.

TS: Are CDs financially abusive?

GS: Money matters always tell the story the best. The CD will clean out bank accounts. Or they play financial games. The reckless gambling and spending will all get discovered right around the time the aggrieved party has begun seriously contemplating the divorce. This makes it even harder to think about throwing in the towel because of how disadvantaged the victim will be walking out.

The CD will also try to penny-pinch or in other ways attempt to ensure that their former partner can’t simply walk away in a financially tenable position. The worst CDs will want to see their former partners financially broken and destitute. The last thing they want is simply to separate and allow the other person to be on their feet and move on to a different (better) life. Rather, they want them — at least from a financial standpoint — to rue the day they decided to call it quits.

TS: How are children affected?

CDs triangulate the kids and use them as pawns and weapons of war in divorce. As pathetic as it already is for CDs to treat the person they supposedly once worshiped so horrendously, their willingness to use their children to emotionally wound their partner is even more reprehensible. But the greater the character disturbance, the less compunction the CD has to use the kids in this way. Alienating kids from the other parent. Trying to sabotage whatever positive relationship there is. Bribing and trying to buy affection and allegiance, not just with money but with superficial attentiveness, attention, seduction, and placating.

TS: What motivates someone who is CD?

It depends. There are two major CD types, the narcissistic and the “aggressive” personalities. For the narcissist, no one else really matters. The cardinal feature will be a complete indifference and insensitivity to everyone else’s welfare and a pathological determination to save face.

For the aggressive characters, it’s all about “winning.” And while this always includes ensuring the defeat of the opponent, in some cases (as in the case with the sadistic aggressive) it’s also about humiliating the other person and relishing in the pain they might be able to cause them.

TS: So how do we deal with them, aside from divorcing them? Should we try to achieve some kind of consensus around co-parenting, for example?

GS: You have to understand that CDs don’t play by the regular rules, so trying to reach consensus with them and exhausting yourself trying to get them to “see” the unhealthiness of their ways is pointless. I have a rhyme I like to use — “it’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree.

Character disordered people are not stupid people. They’re contrary people. They know what the generally accepted rules are, they know what most people’s expectations are. But they haven’t made the decision in their heart to play by the rules most of us want them to play by. That’s a matter of the heart.

Trying to reason with them to examine their behavior assumes something that is patently untrue. It assumes that what they need is insight. I make that point in my book. We live under this delusion. Therapists do this all the time! They think they are going to be the person who says just the right thing in just the right way, so that this time a light bulb is going to go off in this person’s mind and all of a sudden — they will understand and “see” the error of their ways! The problem is, they already understand!

It’s not that the disturbed character doesn’t know what they’re doing and what damage comes from it. If the wounded party is crying their heart out and is miserable, it’s not like you don’t know what you’ve done and what an effect it has had! It’s right there. They already see this but disagree with the notion that they should conform their conduct and work to make amends.

They’ll change only when the cost of their behavior rises too high, the benefits of doing something different becomes more clear, that’s when they’ll change. It’s not that people can’t or won’t change. It’s under what circumstances they’ll be motivated to change. What you need to do if you’re in a relationship with someone like this is set those limits and enforce those boundaries.

You must set the terms of engagement! You can’t trust the character-impaired person to do it. When there is a clear cost to continuing their crazy behavior, there will perhaps be some incentive to change.

Dr. George Simon blogs about manipulative people at www.manipulative-people.com

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fallulah_g
fallulah_g
10 years ago

Entitlement, possessiveness, indifference to others, arrogance, disdain for obligation. CHECK

Character assassination becomes the norm. CHECK

The CD will clean out bank accounts. The worst CDs will want to see their former partners financially broken and destitute. CHECK

The cardinal feature will be a complete indifference and insensitivity to everyone else’s welfare and a pathological determination to save face. CHECK

πŸ™‚

MovingOn
MovingOn
10 years ago

(((fallulah)))

I’m sorry that you’re dealing with that. I think that mine is just selfish and stupid, and that has been bad enough.

fallulah_g
fallulah_g
10 years ago
Reply to  MovingOn

Well thank you very much MO πŸ™‚

Thankfully I’m free of him now – I’m grateful for a lucky escape!

I hope your life is improving exponentially now too! πŸ™‚

GreenGirl
GreenGirl
10 years ago

Is someone born with a character disorder? If someone is an alcoholic or drug user can some of the personality problems be attributed to that? Or were they already there and the substances brought them out to the light?

fallulah_g
fallulah_g
10 years ago
Reply to  GreenGirl

Great question and there are several schools of thought between nature and nurture.

On a slight tangent I loved “They Fuck You Up” by Dr Oliver Simon – leading british clinical psychologist.

http://www.amazon.com/They-You-Up-Survive-Family/dp/1569243239/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1365015591&sr=1-1&keywords=they+fuck+you+up

For the most part I’m still leaning to the side of “nurture” on this particular schema.

And I agree with quicksilver – it has generally been found that addictions are the attempt of bipolar etc to make the world normal/tolerable.

FWIW – my ex was a sociopath in the truest sense and he was teetotal, and had never touched a drug in his life.

Laurel
Laurel
10 years ago
Reply to  fallulah_g

(((hugs, honey))) I think it takes a lot of courage to come out of this…

I would imagine, however, that anyone married to your XH would’ve been driven to drink. But, I’m grateful that you got help help for it cause it sounds like a mixture of some dangerous cocktails. (hope that doesn’t sound condescending) Believe me, I also went down the tubes for a while after my first D-day. Slo mo free fall… thinking, I was “making do.” not.

My h is not a socio but EXTREMELY passive/ passive-aggressive and a REALLY lousy provider. (decorator cash-cow me). But he said once that he just couldn’t do what was “expected of him.”

really?

typical oh-so-unbelievably-lame fucktard response.

A brilliant neuro-psychologist that we took both of our (very, very interesting) kids to, once said to us.

“you can’t make your kids better than they’re going to be, but you CAN make them worse.”

fallulah
fallulah
10 years ago
Reply to  Laurel

no worries at all πŸ™‚

urgh – sounds like your ex is no picnic either! :-/

Datdamwuf
Datdamwuf
10 years ago
Reply to  Laurel

I think it is mental illness that leads to the alcoholism. When I met my ex he was “recovered”, this lasted a few years, then in and out. When he was drinking hard the cruelty, passive aggression and the manipulative things he did were more obvious, when he was sober, or hadn’t gone down the alcohol rabbit hole too far, he was way slicker.

The thing is, I think alcoholics learn to lie very well because they have to hide their drinking. It makes it far easier for them to cheat and lie about everything else. I know now that there were long periods when ex was “sober” but was in fact drinking and I had no clue. If you consider it, an alcoholic hiding his problem is lying just as systematically as a cheater. So how far a step is it to cheat, hide it too and maintain the facade?

Janet
Janet
10 years ago
Reply to  Datdamwuf

My husband is a functioning alcoholic; works everyday has a brillant mind when it comes to his work. Is he mentally ill; no. Is he coping with the pain of a messed up childhood; yes. Is he willing to admit to his messed up childhood and face his problems; no. Is he narrististic, feeling entitled etc..; YES

fallulah_g
fallulah_g
10 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

PS LOVE LOVE LOVE Simon’s stuff – going to be getting all his books.

Thank you! πŸ™‚

fallulah_g
fallulah_g
10 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

PS LOVE LOVE LOVE George Simon’s stuff which I found through this site – I am going to be getting all his books!!!

Thank you πŸ™‚

fallulah_g
fallulah_g
10 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

When I was going through “it” with my ex whilst he was still my current, I began drinking a half a bottle of vodka a night. Plus the antidepressants, plus tons of benzos, and ambien. When I look back I don’t even know how I functioned let alone went out to work with a smile every day (and 2 promotions lol).

So I took my sorry ass off to AA and carried on going when I moved to North Carolina.

From my experience: yes, its an inalienable truth that addicts behave selfishly. Horrifically and often tragically selfishly. AA/NA et al teach one to accept that, change that, and make amends. But… they were doing all of that when their brain was compromised by large amounts of toxins/substances.

So for me – addicts behave selfishly etc because they can’t *think* clearly. CDs do because who they are at their core.

Now of course theres a whole host of grey area in between where selfish aholes take drugs and become more selfish (my best friend of 25 years…. and brother I’ve had no contact with in 6 years) – but for me, having been in contact with both, there’s a world of difference once you pass the surface.

Just my 2 cents πŸ™‚

quicksilver
quicksilver
10 years ago
Reply to  GreenGirl

I think the alcohol and drug abuse is more likely to be a result of the character disorder. They don’t need to follow the rules, they are immune to consequences.

Toni
Toni
10 years ago

I found it was very insightful to realize that CDs (or whatever you want to call them) are CONTRARY. They actually DO get it.
He told me a million times that I would argue with a fence post.. the whole “It’s White/No It’s black” thing.
When I stopped taking the bait and caring then it got REALLY bad….great interview CL, appreciate you and the Doc..his book is GREAT!

Margo
Margo
10 years ago

Welcome to my world. This describes everything that the last two years of separation have been like. It also describes my marriage – although he had gaslighted me so many times, I didn’t know he was so messed up – I thought I was the one with the problems.

I believe that in the end (whenever that comes) he will have lost friends, family and even his kids all for the price of winning.

How pathetic!

Amy
Amy
10 years ago

I’m pretty sure my XH is a sociopath. Definitely CD. Dr. Simon’s comments on being contrary made a light bulb go off. I had learned during my marriage not to ask him to do something that mattered to me or, if something bothered me, to pretend like it didn’t.

firepainter
firepainter
10 years ago

Dr. George Simon saved my life! His book “In Sheep’s Clothing” helped me to see clearly through all the mind f-ery my stbx was pulling on me. The “it’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree” couldn’t be more correct.

I’m on year 5 of my divorce, have spent over $14,000, and on my third lawyer. But, I am truly happy, free from the daily crap from my stbx and have the knowledge that it will be over soon. Yay! Divorce!

Arnold
Arnold
10 years ago

I am pretty sure I was dealing with NPd in both my XWs.
The entitlement was incedible.
I came to realize exactly what Simon states: they understood what they were doing but disagreed that they were not enntilted to more than other people.

Baci
Baci
10 years ago
Reply to  Arnold

Arnold please do not be offended by what I’m about to say.
Do you think maybe your XW’s saw you as a lawyer as a vehicle to deliver them thir entitlement.
I wonder if groceries has attached herself to chainsaw man because she feels to entitled to the prestige and the image he portrays that enhances her social standing.
Do you think your XW’s rode your success
We’re they sucessful in their own right.

Arnold
Arnold
10 years ago
Reply to  Baci

Baci, I think my job may have had something to do with what made me an attractive target.
My first wife graduated magna cum laude from law school and had good eraning potential. But, she soon made it clear that she wanted me to shoulder the entire financial burden.
I clearly remember her saying that she wanted me to get a higher paying job so she could relax and go to the club all day.
In my second marriage, I worked three jobs to keep up witht he spending, and still we were going broke.
Yes, both wives wanted a life of leisure and both felt entiltled to woerk way less than me. Yet, I still did the bulk of the child rearing in my first marriage and the bulk of the cooking and cleaning in my second.
I have so many examples that demonstrate their views on what is fair.
My first wife, while cheating, was out about 70% of all nights to after midnight. We had two small boys, one severly handicapped. When I objected t all the time hertime off and her absence from our children’s lives, she simply looked annoyed and announced ” I get more time off than you. I have more friends(affair partners, in retrospect).
My second wife urged me to tak on yet another (4th) part time job to suppoert her spending. When I told her i was exhausted, she just scoffed and said that manhy men work multipole jobs.
Her parents called her “the Nanny” becasue she did no housework or cooking or laundry for me. She merely played with the kids all day or tanned or shopped.
When I told her we needed to save $$ for my doublke hernia repair co-pay, she objected, saying we needed to pay for her laser stretch mark surgery first.
I was in agreat deal of pain from the hernias and she could have cared less.
I have many more examples. But, the theme is one of entitlement and lack of empathy.
Imagine, my first wife once woke me at 3 in the morning when she came in and described, indetail, the body of the man she had been with all night.
I have heard cheating stories up the wazooo, but few approach that level of sadism.

Margo
Margo
10 years ago
Reply to  Arnold

My STBX came home from the bar drunk, climbed into bed with me and told me in detail how hot his co-worker (aka his emotional girlfriend) looked at the bar. He went on and on. Then he told me how an old friend from high school had been at the same bar and asked if she was his wife. Then he told me there was no reason to be angry because at the end of the day he comes home to me. Wasn’t I lucky? (He couldn’t go home with her because her husband who lived in another state might find out – or her boyfriend at work might find out)

He could do as he wanted without question, but how dare I be at the grocery store more than an hour – my phone would explode with texts as to where I was. Ugh.

So happy to be moving on.

DuckLinerUpper
DuckLinerUpper
10 years ago
Reply to  Arnold

She said to you: “I have more friends (affair partners, in retrospect).”

Lots of entitlement. I have heard that line before, too, the “Well, I have more friends than you, so I deserve to go out more”……the same was true in my case: some of them were APs or women he was *grooming* to be APs.

What makes this whole statement even more ridiculous is that of *course* they have a bigger social calendar when they are shirking all household duties and childcare while they stay out until 3am partying!

And the part about your ex-wife waking up you at 3am to taunt you about another guy? That is messed up.

Arnold
Arnold
10 years ago
Reply to  DuckLinerUpper

Exactly. I , actually, had more firends than my XW, as many people found her to be an asshole. But, my friends did not invite me out after work much, knowing I had two small boys to care for. On the rare occassions I did go out, to play pick up basketball, I would, often take the boys.

anna
anna
10 years ago

is that the new fancy term for dumb a@@. why can’t we just keep it simple? whore, moron and chump that about sums it up. I enjoyed reading it CL but to me it just goes back to trying to figure out why he did it. who cares why, I just know I am cleaning up the mess.

Arnold
Arnold
10 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

When i told my therapist that , upon disclosing to my XW that she was doing something that was very painful to me she said ” I don’t care”, he told me “For once, she was telling the truth.
Here is how I came to look at dealing with the disordered: You cannot reason with them. It is not that they are unitelligent but, rather that there entire life premise is different.
See, when I told my first wife she had been out 112 out of 180 nights and that our kids hardly knew her, she never disputed the facts. But, despite being fairly bright, she was astouned that anyone found it objectionalbe that she take more time off andspent more $$ on herself than the rest of the family.
Her whole, basic premise of life was that she was better, above ordinary people. She simply could not understand why the peasnats were objecting to supporting their queen and sacrificing their lives for her happiness/entitlement.
If you toldher , hey you spend 90% of our discretionary income on your interests, she would just say ” Yes, and your point is?”.
And, the really hard thing to accept is that this was sincere. It was no act. She , genuinely, could not grasp that she was not entitled to more than the rest of us. Very perplexing ,as she was not stupid. But, her entire world view was skewed because the underlying prmise from which she operated was really messed up.

Brinn
Brinn
10 years ago
Reply to  anna

The “why” isn’t important while you are just trying to survive the aftermath of monumental destruction. But the “why” becomes exceedingly important when you decide to re-enter into new relationships…whether they be casual or intimate. One characteristic of being a Chump is that we often repeat our bad choices. And although we cannot protect ourselves completely, having knowledge of personality disorders goes a long way towards NOT making a bad choice.

For some, all this “understanding” of the human psyche is mumbo jumbo. Perhaps. But I would rather spend my time examining what makes someone tick then spending one more minute on being ticked off at my situation.

fallulah
fallulah
10 years ago
Reply to  Brinn

well said πŸ™‚

DuckLinerUpper
DuckLinerUpper
10 years ago

Dr. Simon’s books look great, I will check these out. On a similar note, has anyone read Melanie Evans? She’s got a new-agey website & blog about her journey in leaving a narcissist. A few books seem like they would be good, for example “How to Do No-Contact”, but they are pricey….I haven’t read any yet, I was hoping maybe someone here has experience with them and could give a thumbs up or down?

http://www.melanietoniaevans.com/ebooks-ecourses/ebooks-recovery-from-narcissistic-abuse.htm

fallulah
fallulah
10 years ago
Reply to  DuckLinerUpper

Never heard of it – but a book myself and a friend loved was this:

http://www.gettingpastyourbreakup.com/gettingpastyourpast/

If I have it at home I’d be happy to mail it to you gratis πŸ™‚

Arnold
Arnold
10 years ago
Reply to  DuckLinerUpper

Will check out her stuff duck.
Hopefully, she is more gender nneutral than many of the NPD support sites.
There is just a lot of misinformation about the prevalence of female NPDs and so many of these sites stiull use , almost strictly, the male pronoun in describing the NPD.
Gus who have been involved with female NPDs are often hurt by this ,as they are already connfused and have been blmed by the female NPD for everything.

DuckLinerUpper
DuckLinerUpper
10 years ago
Reply to  Arnold

Arnold – I’m not sure if she’s gender nuetral or not, I hope so. I haven’t read through her site too much (as opposed to this site, of which I’ve read every single word, sometimes multiples times!). This Melanie person is a bit too new-agey for me. She promotes inner healing, which is a good point, but at this stage I just need to get away from the NPD in the first place. When I was at the height of my STBX-NPD relationship I went to therapists and read a lot of self-help books….I kind of got overloaded – so just getting away from the NPD is the best thing right now.

to CL – Is it really that easy to go no-contact? I have yet to divorce my STBX and I am deeply worried about his potential for raging, smearing, and using our young children as pawns and/or endangering them, either to anger me or just because he is selfish and doesn’t look out for them. Going no-contact seems really scary, since there are young kids.

Laurel
Laurel
10 years ago
Reply to  Arnold

Arnold,
I believe you! I think one of your wives was tailgating me years ago on a winding country road– with my two kids in tow in the back seat. Nothing makes me more insane, particularly with my kids in the car. I met up with her at the dry cleaner; an overly tanned, overly thin, overly bleached, overly made-up woman, about 40-ish. I asked her what was up with tail-gating? She looked at me with the most vile venomous look and told me that it was none of my fucking business.
I have no doubt that these types of women exist. I can’t relate, however. I couldn’t wait to work! I had gone back to college just before we started our family and as soon as I could manage it got a part-time job working for a local decorator. In a few years when son #2 was just one, I started my own business. Then… just as it was really starting to take off… husband lost his job. 3.5 years– out of work, with two very short crappy jobs after the first 2.5 years. And even though he’s a computer “technician” he REFUSED to get a second job. He refused to find a higher paying job. (he made 1/3rd of what was needed for a family of four living in an expensive suburb of NYC)

Now, I know why… he was too busy. :[

We had NO discretionary income.

LiningUpDucks
LiningUpDucks
10 years ago

Fallulah – I looked at the URL you gave, it looks like a good book, and it also deals with no-contact surrounding kids/visitation…..because that is where I really need help.

fallulah_g
fallulah_g
10 years ago
Reply to  LiningUpDucks

Ok lemme look – if y’all don’t hear from me again it’s because I got trapped under a cupboard avalanche πŸ™‚

fallulah_g
fallulah_g
10 years ago
Reply to  fallulah_g

Ok I have this book and its in pretty decent condition – I also have “a woman’s guide to healing the heartbreak of divorce” by RosΓ© sweet which I never read but it’s yours if you want it πŸ™‚

I also have “how to spot a bastard by his star sign” but I’m holding on to that one πŸ˜‰

Seriously tho if you want the books they are yours – maybe CL can broker our personal info or whatever you are comfortable with πŸ™‚

DuckLinerUpper
DuckLinerUpper
10 years ago
Reply to  fallulah_g

Yes, that would be great. Thank you! πŸ™‚

fallulah
fallulah
10 years ago
Reply to  DuckLinerUpper

CL says your email is bouncing back?

Do you want to give it to her again so she can give you my email address ? πŸ™‚

DuckLinerUpper
DuckLinerUpper
10 years ago
Reply to  fallulah

Yes, I will let her know the best address. Thanks!

David
David
10 years ago

Dr. Simon’s book, “In Sheep’s Clothing,” is very good. I strongly recommend it.

If you are dealing with a character disordered narcissist, you will get no where by trying to be nice, by trying to be reasonable. Dr. Simon nails it. These folks are functionally capable and emotionally dysfunctional. They live in a self-centric universe of entitlement, so if you try to bargain/negotiate with them, you will never win. They are also not types who will accept their (at the very least) co-responsibility for the failure of any marriage. In their view, it was the chump’s job to make them happy, and if the chump didn’t do that, it was the chump’s fault.

Fortunately, this is a small part of the population, but it’s not that small. And our culture tends to elevate high achievers, and these folks can be high achievers. So, you need to read a lot of books on narcissism if you are contending with this type. You also need to expect anything. Yes, they can be nice one day, but they can rip your face off the next, and not care a whit about what they did. Developing narcissism/character-disordered radar is important. Staying in a relationship with folks this this actually will just train your kids to accommodate such people, and that won’t be good.

CL’s website takes a strong stand on narcissism/character disorders, and that’s one (of many) reasons why I like it so much!

If you are divorcing such a type, you need a good lawyer, and you need to set down hard and fast rules (like no contact, like forcing compliance to agreements), since all they respect is force. They will do what they can get away with, since they are, in their minds, special people.

By the way, they can be rough on kids. Often narcissistic parents dote on kids when they are little (fantasizing that the kids are their clones), but they hate the kids when they individuate.

Read Dr. Simon’s books and this site for more on narcissism. Wikipedia also has a good entry.

fallulah_g
fallulah_g
10 years ago
Reply to  David

I really like what you said – thanks

David
David
10 years ago
Reply to  fallulah_g

Thank you, fallulah_g.

Wikipedia has good stuff on narcissism. There is also a lady named Nina Brown who writes on this topic. There are just a few books out there who try to tell you how to live with a narcissist. I’d avoid them. That’s not a life. Still, the darned topic is very interesting, and when you get into it, it’s like a light-bulb that keeps going on. You see narcs all around. They are not a majority, but there are plenty of them and they can do a lot of harm. In reality, they are NOT very powerful. They just leverage the nice qualities of chumps. Once we see them for what they are (folks with no or just a few feelings), it actually becomes much easier to deal with them.

Again, thanks for the kind words…..

Datdamwuf
Datdamwuf
10 years ago
Reply to  David

This book helped me a long time ago, just because someone has NPD traits does not make them a full blown type but I swear this book nailed my ex. I have notes in every margin practically.

http://www.amazon.com/Wizard-Oz-Other-Narcissists-Relationship/dp/0972072837

David
David
10 years ago
Reply to  Datdamwuf

I liked this book, too. It has some interesting material on the co-dependents (chumps) who get sucked in and used by narcissists. Good recommendation!

Bonkti
Bonkti
10 years ago

Agreed. This was absolutely the best book I read in my Amazon Chump phase.

Very concrete & well written. No BS.

Bonkti
Bonkti
10 years ago

Ah, shoot. My agreement was for Datdamwuf’s endorsement of The Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists. The reviews and responding comments on Amazon are also illuminating.

ing
ing
10 years ago

A few tips for someone who is two years down the road …

Don’t engage with them. At all.
This is much harder than it sounds because they know how to push all your buttons and have been doing it for a long time. They will attempt to keep you on the hook for as long as possible by any means possible.
You will probably suffer anxiety or panic attacks as the war wears on. you will be broken. This is normal.

The kids will be used as pawns and they will be dragged into it. There is no avoiding this because in there mind they are doing the “right thing” this is highly toxic and for this reason you must not try and avoid conflict with them while custody is at stake.

You need to see a psychologist to help with the feelings of failure in yourself and the desire to stand in between your ex partner and the children to protect them.
You have to learn to allow your ex partner to expose their own nature. With very young children I suspect the advice will be different, so see a psychologist!
My kids are safe here. They have distanced themselves from her, as I stopped trying to stand between them, and their Mother. This let her true character be revealed to them.

The feelings of loneliness will be intense.
You have spent the last X number of years acting as filter, protector and rear-guard for your ex. When you finally accept that he/she is and never has been on your side you will feel very lonely and lost at sea. This is okay. This is part of the healing process.

You will have frequent flashbacks to things you said and did in the relationship which make you feel like an absolute fool, a failure and a chump of the first degree. This will hurt like hell because you did those things for love and that is not a crime.

Financially.
Don’t fight them. It is only money. This sounds like a platitude but if you fight them for money you will end up giving it to lawyers anyway since it is a way to engage you for an extended period. You have to let them win. You have to suck up the last of your pride and let them have what they want. Let them feel sorry for you. Acting in sympathy is part of their nature and you will do okay.. Promise.
You will recover faster if you don’t drag it out.

Go no contact. Even with kids. Email is an effective communication tool. Do not let them enter your property. Set clear and fixed times for pickup and delivery of kids. They WILL ignore them and deliver two hours late or three hours early. Make it the weekend and set the day aside. You always deliver and pickup on the appointed time. You are reliable. Your kids will notice this…
Mainly..
You can not win against them. Let them win. Walk away from every fight. Close your mouth. Write nothing to them. don;t try and talk about the kids. Ignore their tears and constant hand wringing about reconciliation. It is all lies.

If this sounds like I am broke and cynical well so be it. Maybe. But I am broke and recovering .

Total words spoken to Ex this year. 38. Yes. I count them..

Fallulah Gigglepants
Fallulah Gigglepants
10 years ago
Reply to  ing

For? Or from? Sounds like great advice… But you sound a bit down so ((((hugs)))) just in case πŸ™‚

And one of my fave all time lines:

“of course they know how to push your buttons – they installed them”