People say that the best revenge after divorce is to live your best life. While it’s not perfect, I am definitely living the best life I’ve ever lived. I still struggle with my health (life long battle thanks to the steady barrage of gas lighting from my ex narc), but aside from that, I’m really, really happy.
If what I’m about to say sounds petty and trite, you did not spend enough time under the thumb of a narcissist. Recently it was my sons birthday. The kids and I went out to brunch, then came home to have cake & presents. They spent the rest of the afternoon with me, until, sadly, I had to go to work. Before I left my youngest said “do I have to go to dads for his birthday party?”. My youngest is 17 and, while we both know he can make his own choices, he still cares what I think. I said yes, you have to go. You have to go to support your brother, and to eat dinner since I’m not feeding you. He dropped me off at work and headed over to his dads house.
I worked 4 hours and my son came to pick me up. I asked him how the party had gone and he said it was exactly what he thought it would be – terrible. He said “dad just sits there with a mad look on his face, and shovels food into his mouth while making no effort to converse with anyone”. I asked him what the new wife did. He said she made a few attempts at striking up conversation but quickly gave up and also ate in silence. He said he couldn’t wait to get out of there, and wouldn’t mind if he never had to go back.
What my son described was my married life. My youngest was 11 when the narc moved out, so I don’t think he was aware of the dynamics at play. He didn’t realize how hard I worked to make meal time pleasant; to get non-threatening conversation flowing. The narc is incredibly successful turning the most innocent topic into an opportunity to put you down, so conversing with them is like playing dodge ball. You have to swerve and flex, constantly change direction to stop the incessant gaslighting. A topic as innocent as what the family wants for dessert can easily lead to the narcs dissertation, stating that of course women should be paid less, look at how much less they do than men. That sort of thing. When the narc was home I sat at the table with my invisible shield of Armour, ready to deflect the attacks and change the direction of the conversation. I was not often successful, and I was usually close to tears by the end of the meal; that is if I made it through the meal. It was exhausting and I was usually in bed shortly after the meal was over.
So, here is my ex narc heading towards the same behavior with his new wife. I’m not sure how much gas-lighting is going on, but he has already started to shut down, his way of making it clear he is not happy.
I’m not proud of this but I’m really happy about it.
Some of my happiness comes from the fact that my boys are now watching the process play out with a new wife. This is strong evidence that the narc was the problem, not me. In contrast, they come to my house willingly, and we have great times together. Slowly I’m hearing little things from each of them indicating they understand who was the problem, how things happened.
I’m also happy that the new wife is going through this. I feel a bit sorry about this because I understand how powerful the narc is when he decides to love bomb someone. There was no way I could have resisted the romance this narc pull off However, I didn’t date him while his wife was being treated for cancer, which his new wife did. I also didn’t date him while he was with his wife (I think-hard to sift through the lies, so I don’t really know for sure). I imagine he told his new wife things like “I was just about to leave her, but now I have to stay at least while she’s in treatment” or “she doesn’t love me, she’s just using me to take her to chemo”. How romantic, eh?
The point of this is that it is true – the best revenge is simply living a good life, because this is something the narc will never be able to do.