Divorcing a Covert Narcissist Really Hurts

After 2 1/2 years of this  divorce process you’d think I would be over the pain.   After all that has happened, during our marriage and during the divorce, I am still amazed when I feel like I’ve taken a dagger to my heart.

I know my spouse is a psychopath.  I know he messed with my head for 25 years, and made me believe every issue was my fault.  I know he stole money, lied, cheated and worked me, for lack of a better term.  I know he learned my weaknesses and used them against me.  I know that one of his primary tactics was simply waiting me out, a tactic he has continued to use  over the past 2 1/2 years.

Yet even knowing all of that I still feel intense pain every time he implements one of his tricks.

I am an emotional person but come on now…….when does it stop feeling like I’ve been kicked in the gut each time he tries to take more away from me?

One of my favorite people is my allergy/immune doctor.  He became my doc 3 months after my 1st major asthma attack, which was 19 years ago.  He’s seen me through hell.  He recently closed out my 5th file, and started #6; or maye #7.  There have been times over the years in which I’ve seen him every week.  My appointment today ended with a hefty dose of prednisone (which I Hate!) and an appointment in 6 weeks, assuming the prednisone works, sooner if it doesn’t.

Why do I mention him?  He is my age and, since he’s spent so much time with me, including time during  hospital admissions, we’ve gotten to know each other.  We have much in common.  We were married around the same time.  We have the same number of children, all around the same age.  He has a stay-at-home wife, which is what my spouse views me as (despite my work in our businesses).    His kids did many of the same activities as mine.  Swim team, music, community sports……his kids have done them all.   He works a lot of hours, as did my spouse.  (Or at least as I think my spouse did; hard to know what was work and what was “fun”)

Here’s the difference:  he has a great marriage.  I never shared much about my marriage while still with my spouse, and he shared little of his.  We talked about the kids.  He avoided the fact that my spouse never came to my appointments, was never in the hospital with me, and never called him.  He never said anything negative about my life or my spouse.  When I was going in weekly for allergy shots, carting my 4th infant, he always fawned over my son and never made me think my life was unusual.    He, in contrast to many of my dr’s, never asked how the business was going.  I never knew why, but as I go through this divorce I’m starting to understand.

Over the past 2.5 years I’ve shared bits and pieces of my marriage with him.  This happened because I started asking questions about his marriage.  I was curious that despite his work hours, his wife staying at home and raising 4 children and having some health issues, he Adored Her.    I started asking questions.  What was his role with the children?  What did he see as his responsibility to her?  How did they manage the home, the kids, their relationship?   (If I stop writing it’s because I’m sobbing)

He says his main concern is keeping her happy, and he does what needs to be done to accomplish that.  He acknowledges not only her contribution to the family but the stress inherent in being a stay at home mom of 4 children.  He told me about getting up at 4:30 in the morning to take the kids to swim practice so she could sleep in, because she was going to have a much longer, more stressful day than he was.  He talked about taking on extra duties to make sure there was enough money to achieve their family goals.  He tells me about making her tea before he leaves in the morning, and, now that they are part time empty nesters, making sure they have plenty to do on the weekends.  Today he told me that he takes time off for her annual mammogram.  Not because she’s ever had cancer, but because she gets stressed, and he simply wants to be with her.

When we 1st started sharing our marital experiences I sort of thought he was full of crap.  The amount of effort he claimed to put into keeping his wife happy seemed implausible at best.  Eventually I started telling the office staff I wish I had him as a clone, and they substantiated his claims:  he’s a really freaking good spouse.   They know his wife, his family and his marriage, and what he says is true.  He’s a great husband.  Actually, he’s a great person.

This week I’ve been a wreck emotionally.  I’m not sure why.  Yes, my spouse has added to his list of torture by not paying our mortgage, and I’m now dealing with the foreclosure process, but I was expecting that.  In a disturbing twist it sort of makes me giggle.  Why?  Because while both of our credit will be screwed, I can’t borrow without a cosigner anyway, because my income isn’t enough.  I’ve known this from the beginning.  He though, will be affected.   His income is enough to get loans, but only if his credit rating is intact.  Hahaha.

That has nothing to do with what I’m feeling right now.   What I’m feeling is self pity.   I can’t stop wondering why other women have decent men, decent marriages, but I don’t.   Why are other women heading into their “golden years” with a supportive spouse, while I’m heading into those years alone, battered, broke and depressed.  Do other women deserve this more than I and, if so, why?

I don’t feel lonely.  I love being alone.  I do though, feel the heaviness of the rest of my life alone.  Does that make sense?  I can spend days alone, writing, sewing, playing with my pets, doing yoga and meditating, and never once feel lonely.  Yet when I think of however many years I might have left, the thought of being alone takes my breath away.  There is a price to be paid for time alone.  We all need things from others.  Simple things, like a ride to the dr’s, or help changing the lightbulbs on the roof of the house, or a hug when we’re scared or sad.  I have people in my life who will help me with these things, but it isn’t the same as a partner who willingly takes time off from work to go to my mammogram simply because I’m nervous.  Of all the people who are there for me and truely love me, I would never think to ask them to do that.  And I have no one that just gets that about me.

My Dr’s wife doesn’t need to ask for anything.  He knows her.  He knows she gets nervous.  He cares that she is nervous, and he takes action to help her.

No matter how many people I have in my life that love me, none of them know me that well.  The only one who really knew me that well was my spouse.  Unfortunately, he learned all those things about me to use them against me, not to support me.  In fact, he preyed on me because of my ambivalence towards my family, my feeling that perhaps they weren’t good people, able and willing to take care of me.  That was what he tapped into and used for his benefit.

So I sink further into my personal pity party.  I obsess about why I don’t have this in my life.  What did I do wrong?  Do I really deserve this?

A few days ago I was talking to one of my bosses about sales I had made.  They were under my name and I stuttered and said “they are my boyfriends daughter”.  She looked at me puzzled, at which point I realized I had misspoken and I corrected the statement:  the sales were for my son’s GF, whom I think will eventually be my daugher in law.  “Too Late” she said.  “You’ve put that out there, that you want a boyfriend, and it will happen”

I do not believe in the “universe”.  (If you want to understand my reasoning, google Amy Schumer, the Universe -hysterical)  There was a part of me though, that envisioned this “boyfriend” and felt at peace, secure, happy.   I can’t imagine who would want to hook up with a 55 year old divorcee with major health and financial issues, as well as  full custody of a minor son, no credit and major debt, but there was a little part of my brain imagining this guy.  That little part of me felt peaceful, happy & safe.

This has been the 1st time I’ve ever allowed myself to really imagine a partner, even though I know how ludicrous the idea is.  It’s as if I imagined winning a Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, only to find out there is no factory.  That kind of sucks, huh?

Hopefully I’ll get past this, because I suspect I’m dehydrated from all of the crying.  And, if I don’t pull it together the holidays will suck for my kids.

My plan is……………….I don’t know.  I don’t have a plan.  & I hate not having a plan.


3 thoughts on “Divorcing a Covert Narcissist Really Hurts

  1. I am a man that has endured a narcisistic wife for thirty years. I had no idea and poof she has a boyfriend for a year behind my back, they are 66 and 70 years of age. Im 64 and finding it very difficult, sick chronically. Men do have wives also who are narcisisits. Two faces. I love you but i hate you relationship, i knew this about 5years or so before the divorce but was stuck with her ,bankruptcy and so on. I could tell you one thing dual personalitys are very dangerous ,never go back. We have learned a very difficult lesson in life ,WHO KNEW. Believe it or not i forgave her in my mind. She got married a month after our final divorce ,hmmmm. Moved 600 miles away and i hope and pray for her new husband. He has no idea. I know what you have gone through. Absolutely ludicrous. At 64 what the hell do i do now. Im a plain and simple person,not struggling with monetary values or bills etc,just the loss of thirty years of my life is what gripes me. It wont leave me alone. I do see a therapist and have benn feeling better. Therapy may help a bit but i see know way of that happening to a full extent. I also worked in a jail for thirty years ,soooooooo ptsd is abundant at times . to many things at once going on. I cant go anywhere mostly do to a chronic illness. God bless you all. Please excuse my spell checking it s on hiatas ,lol. Seriously though this ia very discomforting and serious ,i will survive. Maybe someday find someone or they will find me. Im not looking ,if it happens it happens. From my heart once again God bless you all!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how raw this is. I share a lot of the sentiments you’ve written about. I’m still suffering from this stupid divorce and the man that once was my spouse.
    I got to know many parents through my kids schools, and I always used to wonder how they kept it together. I would marvel at how the men treated their wives. You know what I found out? The wives weren’t pleasers. They were tough strong women who treated their men tough. Seriously. I guess it’s just like the saying “treat them mean, keep them keen”. Some even bash their husbands in public, and all you see is this dewy eyed man so in love with his wife. Lol. It’s funny when I think about it. Maybe we should be like them?


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