You survived marriage and divorce from a narcissistic spouse. The years you spent giving your life to this person and trying to save the marriage were very painful. You could not have known when you married your narcissistic husband or wife that you were in for a torturous ride. You went to counseling, couples therapy and did everything you could to make the relationship work. You fought through the divorce wars including ugly custody disputes and prolonged financial skirmishes. In the end you were often left with an unfair settlement. As an ex-spouse of a narcissist some of these battles continue if the children are underage. Give yourself credit for all of the efforts you have made. Now the focus must be on your healing on every level.
An essential of healing in the aftermath of the narcissist is that you put yourself first. As a child you did not learn that this was possible and necessary.
Children who have been raised in these abusive backgrounds can be vulnerable as adults to become ensnared in the narcissist’s web and marrying this kind of individual. Never blame yourself for being fooled. Narcissists are masters of disguise and deceit. They exude charm and put you in a kind of trance that tells you that you are loved by them. Now you know the truth and have survived the severance of this toxic relationship.
These are some essentials involved in your healing and evolving as an individual:
1. Pay close attention to your intuitive gifts and follow them. They are always telling you the truth.
2. Get the sleep you need and deserve. Eat nourishing foods slowly and with pleasure–no rushing.
3. Learn to enjoy your own company and solitude if that has not been the case in the past.
4. Journal your spontaneous thoughts and feelings. Let it all flow without judgment.
5. Go deep inside the music that you love. If you are inclined, move to this music and feel your body responding to the beat and melody.
6. Do exercise regularly that works best for you.
7. Simple hatha yoga poses with emphasis on breathing through the nose activate the parasympathetic nervous system–the calming at peace phase of our body/minds.
8. Remember that you have a great sense of humor. This is one of life’s saving graces.
9. Find and keep those individuals near you who respect and appreciate your authenticity and unique individuality.
10. Get your creativity re-flowing and expanding. This process is filled with joy and a sense of personal accomplishment and healing.
12 thoughts on “Your Healing After Narcissistic Spouse”
I am in the midst of an exhausting divorce from a Narcissist. I am 11 months along in this process. I can offer that being free of the DAILY CHAOS is a huge relief after 30 years.
No one has any idea what my life has been for 30 years. And that makes the recovery lonely. Not because I want anyone to relive this w me, but more because I need validation that I’ve been horribly abused.
There were RED flags from the first date. There were RED flags when he almost left me at the alter (humiliated, embarrassed). There were RED flags when he told me that adopting children was not going to change his (important) life. Sex was mechanical.
and seldom satisfying – I couldn’t keep up w his performance. What role was I supposed to be fulfilling for his ego? Slut? Seductress? Soul mate? He told everyone (employees, friends) that I was frigid. He was a shameless flirt (in front of me) and a chronic cheater (men and women), friends, clients, hairstylists, prayer group spouses, bar patrons, our daughter’s teacher, hotel clerks, non stop.
At dinner he would insist that we hold hands and he’d thank God for his beautiful wife and children and all of HIS Blessings. At his mothers 80th birthday party that I planned, he gave a lengthy speech (inappropriate) about how lucky he was to be married to me, that without me there wouldn’t have been this gathering, blah blah blah.
When I had enough several times (and with the support of a great therapist) I told him I wanted a divorce; he immediately went into this confusing pathetic role-crying to friends and family that he LOVED me and he would be better (spend time w me; stop sleeping around). At the same time he’d tell the children that it was all my fault; and that I was breaking up our family due to my selfishness. He’d scream at me “you’re the adult”, how can you hurt your children that you claim to love.
Mostly I remember being exhausted. I guess from living a lie and making deals w the devil himself. When I knew that he would stop at nothing to insure that my kids hated me; I took him back. He fooled therapists, lawyers, bankers, clergy, on and on. Or maybe he didn’t fool them? Maybe they had a vested interest in going along w his chaos? A lot of people benefited financially – banks continued to rewrite loans, lawyers racked up fees writing new contracts, churches were awarded generous donations, etc.
Finally the economic crisis stepped in and saved my life! He couldn’t keep ahead of all of his lies, and bad deals, and the implosion began. I think he decided as we were loosing our home of 25 years, that he was done. That’s exactly what he said “I’m done”. Oh and “you’re the mother of my children I’ll take care of you the rest of your life”! One of his girlfriends (2 years) stepped up! She bought a condo, and took him in. I’m pretty sure that she will live to regret that decision. The drama has continued. He’s hidden assets, disbursed of marital assets, (in Colorado) and moved to California where he has invested stolen money. He has declared chapter 7 bankruptcy in California. He’s having a bit of a struggle keeping his stories straight between divorce court in Aspen and BK court in Newport Beach. It may be his downfall. I live w his relatives and am doing what I can to retrieve the money he’s stolen. I go to hot yoga 4-5 times a weak to aid my recovery. I’m learning to meditate. I hike and try to eat well. I dog sit if I get a chance. I want to show my children that I can survive. I have tremendous guilt that I allowed this man to be their father.
When I have a chance to talk to women in their twenties, I try to give them a simple message.
Listen to your gut. Pay attention to RED flags.
What a great resource very succinct, to the point and brilliant, says ‘it as it is’ perfectly!
Have referred others to this Website.
I am almost one year out, and almost through with dealing with it.
So much has been learned.
I have written and sent an Essay to our local print media here for Womens Mags with empahsis on these men that suck life and money from their victims.
Made a point of mentioning the coverage of the ‘modern version’ of narcisssism, but for emphasis to be on the nature of these destructive situations.
Keep up the good work.!
Thank you for your blog and advice. I am the mother and grandmother of a son who married a Narcissistic person. I would love guidance on how to provide support and guidance to my son as well as my grandson. My son, thankfully, has returned to us (our family) but our grandson is still living with his Narcissistic Mother despite our efforts in the NYS Court System. We are desparate for how how to deal with this since we would like to have the child returned to his father and our family. Thank you for any information you can provide.
I’ve evenly come out of a very emotional and mentally abusive marriage of 24 yrs . And reading lots of information I have just realised that he was a narcassist. It kind of gives me some validation that it wasn’t my fault after all and I have to try to stop blaming myself for his actions. I was only completely separated from this monster for a few months when he told friends he was ‘going to grind me down till he won me back’ which he did..then after 3 weeks ‘February 15th 2014’ he eneded it again. I was absolutely crushed because I had said in our marriage guidance sessions the constant I needed was to be made to feel secure… was never going to happen with him! Oh he had the tears and all the empty promises that it would be all so different. .. and it was as this last time he ended it I had a nervous breakdown and Al. Ost committed suicide (had I had enough pills to kill me instead of just doing some damage). My daughter was my saviour she nursed me back to good health and after only 1 month of sheer determination and willpower I got my own home and a job. I then started to move on but the ex was still lingering and I was fighting so hard to not give in. I did… A few times ..Sleep with him.. why.. I ask myself the same question. . I loved him still.. yep still… then after another month I bumped into a man I have know for 25 yrs a mutual friend of both mine and my exes. We had a spark for the first time in all the years I had known him.. anyway a few weeks down the line and we are in a loving open friendly truthful relationship. .. except I am now finding it really difficult. I get myself so mixed up . Do I love this man or not as sometimes the love and warmth I feel is immense then other times I scared witless that really what am I doing and do I not just want to be on my own. But I can’t imagine my life without him in it .. but I just want this anxiety to stop. I keep feeling gutted to that my ex is actually getting remarried next year (our divorce isn’t finalised yet) . I just want to move on and be free of all the pain. I do work a lot on myself and have had lots of counselling even done a level 2 course myself so I am very in tune and self aware. So what do I do now… just a time thing I’m told and I should be proud of how far I’ve come and I am … just would like to move on another year or so so it’s all better.
I’ve eventually come out of a very emotional and mentally abusive marriage of 24 yrs . And reading lots of information I have just realised that he was a narcassist. It kind of gives me some validation that it wasn’t my fault after all and I have to try to stop blaming myself for his actions. I was only completely separated from this monster for a few months when he told friends he was ‘going to grind me down till he won me back’ which he did..then after 3 weeks ‘February 15th 2014’ he eneded it again. I was absolutely crushed because I had said in our marriage guidance sessions the constant I needed was to be made to feel secure… was never going to happen with him! Oh he had the tears and all the empty promises that it would be all so different. .. and it was as this last time he ended it I had a nervous breakdown and Al. Ost committed suicide (had I had enough pills to kill me instead of just doing some damage). My daughter was my saviour she nursed me back to good health and after only 1 month of sheer determination and willpower I got my own home and a job. I then started to move on but the ex was still lingering and I was fighting so hard to not give in. I did… A few times ..Sleep with him.. why.. I ask myself the same question. . I loved him still.. yep still… then after another month I bumped into a man I have know for 25 yrs a mutual friend of both mine and my exes. We had a spark for the first time in all the years I had known him.. anyway a few weeks down the line and we are in a loving open friendly truthful relationship. .. except I am now finding it really difficult. I get myself so mixed up . Do I love this man or not as sometimes the love and warmth I feel is immense then other times I scared witless that really what am I doing and do I not just want to be on my own. But I can’t imagine my life without him in it .. but I just want this anxiety to stop. I keep feeling gutted to that my ex is actually getting remarried next year (our divorce isn’t finalised yet) . I just want to move on and be free of all the pain. I do work a lot on myself and have had lots of counselling even done a level 2 course myself so I am very in tune and self aware. So what do I do now… just a time thing I’m told and I should be proud of how far I’ve come and I am … just would like to move on another year or so so it’s all better.
You are not alone. I identify with all you have gone through and all se red flags too but been young and naive, I got trapped.
I am in process of messy divorce and just like you I feel terrible guilt for having him as my children’s father.
I hate to deal with him and can’t wait to not see him!
It’s important that we forgive ourselves for lettg this happen to our children and us.
Good luck with your healing!
I am struggling with all same emotions of hurt and confusion and after having dated a friend some time back, I learnt back then that my need for validation and security was way too strong and that kept me fearful and confused. Soon the spark was gone and I felt used and cheated again.
It opened my wounds even more.
Over time I realized that until thus need for validation is there, similar narcissist people will come in life.
I have since worked on my self esteem and facing my fear of been alone. It’s tremendous progress.
Not anti men nor am I desperate to look for a relationship but as I build my confidence, my fear of been alone is reducing.
So keep faith with time, you will know if he’s the one and when you feel confidence in you, these fears will leave you too.
Mary, if you ever get this, I’ve been through very similar with my N mother, and am now far away with a sweet and wonderful man that I had known for 20 years too. I get the exact same fears, and I’m telling you to Hold on to him!! He is a keeper, it’s just your ego trying to run from good treatment because it feels bad to you. Please hang in there, keep getting help and airing and healing your old old feelings from the past.
I was married to a narcissist for 22 years and so much of what was said in this forum resonates. The red flags were there from the start but, he was my high school sweetheart and I loved him so much. He never wanted kids and foolishly I thought once they there he’ll change. When I came home from hospital with our first child he moved into another room as he needed his sleep. I feel so guilty today as the kids were subjected to so much verbal and physical abuse and I could not side with them as I would be villified and stonewalled for weeks. He started his first affair after the birth of my first son. We moved around a lot even to another country funded by my pension fund. I soon earned more than him and became his cash cow. He would go to mosque, provide great sermons to friends about the importance of family how grateful he is to me for being the best mother and wife then go home and watch hard core porn. He loved violent sex scenes where women are forced into sex. His sexual apetite was insatiable and I confused it for love. He was on dating web sites and chat rooms with his phone with him at all times. He had a few phones going in fact. Confronting him was a futile exercise as he would convince me it’s in my head and that I am paranoid, imagining things. He was a master manipulator and great at covering his tracks. Our computer history was always cleared. Foolishly I supported him when he was charged with assaulting my son. Frought with guilt I funded yet another move to Australia where he got himself arrested for theft. At this time he met an old girlfriend online and ran off to another country without a word to be with her leaving me with our sons to fend for ourselves in Australia. Two weeks later I received divorce papers by text message. He did not even show me the courtesy of calling me. I was reeling and then the emotional roller coaster began, professing his love for me, that we can give it another go to I don’t love you, never have, my happiness is with my new girlfriend.
Confused and angry I just did not have the will to fight. I had no job, no place to stay and 2 sons to care for. I guess I was running on pure adrenalin. We left Australia, I managed to secure a job and a roof over our heads but, by then I was mentally and physically exhausted and I broke. I will never forget that helpless, panicked look on my sons faces staring down at me, a sobbing mess and thats when I knew I had to get throug this, heal myself for my sake and the sake of my kids. We are 2 years down the track and the boys often reveal to me now how they felt living with their dad over the years and it hurts like hell but, we are finally free, our house is a home, there is lots of laughter, freedom and singing in the shower. Sometimes I sit in my bedroom listening to my boys and their friends down the hall watching the basketball, laughing and debating about the players and I know we have survived. I still hurt, the betrayal, the guilt, the loneliness, the financial ruin still lingers but, everyday is one more step to healing. Thanks everyone, feels good to share
Your story moved me. Abused by a narcissistic man for now 20 years, I’m on my way out. He has cheated and been found out. I forgave him and gave him another chance. These men have no scruples, it is only about themselves, and their sense of entitlement. He cheated again and now I’m done.
I am so happy for you and your boys that you have found peace and security. And laughter and love together. I hope for you that there will one day be a new someone special, you deserve it.
Now I just need to be strong and go through the process. The lawyers, etc. The courts and custody battles.
I am so sorry you had to side with your husband and it must feel very conflicting when your own son is involved in something like an assault case. I sent my eldest son to boarding school three years ago to get him out of the war zone, and I have missed him so much.
I hope you find closure and healing. Wish me luck on my journey …
I met my ex at work. He was such a sweet man, very caring and concerned about me. We were both married when we met. I left that job and went to work at another place. He found out that I had got divorced and sent word to me he wanted to talk. He told me he was separated and had filed for divorce. We started dating. We dated for a year and a half and married. Later I find out that he had not been truthful about his ex and filing for divorce. He didn’t even tell her he wanted a divorce until after we started dating! It’s to late, we are married already. I too saw RED flags while dating him. The lies that he told and things he did! But I ignored them. I left him and filed for divorce three times! After being married for 12 years I finally divorced him the third time I filed. He couldn’t deny the cheating because he brought home a STD! I took medicine and got rid of it. He cheated on me almost the whole time. He vandalized my car twice. He said he thought I would come back home because I needed a new car. I didn’t. He continues to try to get me back. I can’t go back. He treated me so bad. The verbal abuse and mind games almost killed me. I was hospitalized twice. I was on loads of medicine. Four years into our marriage we took on his 2 grandchildren. I raised them for almost 8 years. He turned them against me. Lies all lies. I loved them as my own. I lost them. I gave up custody because I didn’t get to see them or help with decisions. I wanted them to live with me. They wouldn’t. He gave them up. They are almost grown now. One I communicate with only through social media. Sometimes text messages. I tried to be friends with my ex and help him. He is 15 years older than me. Because I want have sex with him he is still giving me the silent treatment and don’t want to be friends. Why do I care? Why do I still love this man? I don’t want him back but yet I am stuck. I can’t move forward because I love him. I can’t go back because I deserve better. So I am here tonight reading on the Internet trying to get answers. If only I had ran at the first RED flag! Hind sight is 20/20.
I’d like to add that my divorce was final almost 2 years ago. I filed for divorce in November 2013 and it was final September 18, 2014. I’ve been cheated on by my first husband and this one. Good news is, I no longer have to take all that medicine or see a psychiatrist. She has released me. I have survived! By God’s grace, I have survived. Hang on out there. I still get down sometimes and miss my family but I made the right decision to leave. God bless.
Comments are closed.