Lessons Learned: From Anger to Healing Part 4

(Fourth of a 7 part series)
part 1, 2, 3

by Zack’s Mom

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. ~ Anais Nin

3. Don’t convince yourself that everyone believes him.

I used to think everyone thought my ex was as charming and bright as I once did. But when I met him, I had poor self-esteem and was drawn in by his manipulations.

Not everyone will be drawn in. Over time I have come to see that there are plenty of smart people–at my son’s school, in our circle of friends, and even in “the system” who get his schtick right away.

Not everyone, but enough that I can tell myself he is not as powerful as I once convinced myself he was.

4. Remember that narcissists organize themselves around conflict.

In other words, conflict gives them a focal point for their energies and bullying strategies. If they can provoke you, drag you into court, start a fight, get you going, they will–because it gives them a goal and a project.

It is hard, hard work to get to a place where you are strong enough (and fearless enough) to resist fighting. It is better for you and for your child if you do not. When narcissists are left without conflict, their insecurities eat at them. They will keep upping the ante, trying to get you to take the bait. Don’t do it!

Tomorrow Part 5

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3 Responses to Lessons Learned: From Anger to Healing Part 4

  1. freedom33 says:

    I am new to this site and I have to say that it is wonderful to find others who understand what I am dealing with. Number 3 in this post is definitely something I need to keep in mind.

    I am so hesitant to try and explain the kind of person my ex is because it seems like barely anyone is going to believe me. “Oh you’re just fueled with negative emotions about him because you two had a bad relationship.”

    Yeah, funny things they are, those emotions.

    I am sometimes still in denial though. Still second-guessing myself. Sometimes even still making excuses for him. Did I just imagine the whole thing? Is my child’s father really as bad as I perceive him to be?

    Perception is the key word in this situation. While you are desperately trying to make sense of things, trying to piece together what is real, the narcissist projects his distorted view of reality onto you, making you feel absolutely insane. You even start thinking that maybe YOU are the narcissist and HE is the one just trying to do his best being a good significant other or spouse.

    Having his child was both a Godsend and a hard lesson. Becoming a mother woke me up to reality. If I were to stay in the relationship, I wouldn’t just be allowing myself to get hurt. A child was to be involved now.

    So having his child got me out of the relationship. But on the same token, having his child pretty much guaranteed that I would have to “deal” with him for quite a long time.

    The ironic thing is that perhaps he wouldn’t be involved if I wouldn’t have mentioned anything to his mother. She didn’t know I was pregnant in the first place. I thought I was doing the right thing by telling her she had a grandson. Turns out she’s not any less of a narcissist than her son. Since she threatened to take my baby away from me though, I don’t have to deal with her. She lost her priviledge to be in this child’s life.

    It is surely a blessing to be able to come to a site like this and see how others have “survived.” Thank you. Seeing that you have managed to stay strong amidst the chaos has given me hope that I can manage this rollercoaster myself.

  2. PhoenixRising says:

    Well, it’s a big roller coaster with a lot of us who have bought tickets and still more standing in line, so you are definitely not alone! Hi freedom33, and welcome. 🙂

    Number 3 is quite significant to me too. It really is hard to explain to another exactly what kind of person you’re dealing with.

    But the message to “Don’t convince yourself that everyone believes him” is so powerful, because I do believe that’s what many of us do. I know I did.

    I, too, was vulnerable when I met him and I had very low self esteem. It’s amazing to me now, from where I am, just how different the whole view looks to me. Somehow I had made him (with no small help from him) into this incredibly charismatic guy that everyone looked up to and admired, but actually it was only a very small circle.

    Not to diminish the damage some narcissists can do, especially when they’re bent on performing in front of an audience. But it’s been quite a shock to me to realize now just how many people actually did have his number years ago and wonder what in the world I was doing with someone like him!

    My child was a great motivator for me to leave as well. I had to protect her. Unfortunately, I did not see the danger in time for my oldest two – not until they started showing signs of distress, and I began to become more and more aware of the anger and estrangement in them.

    When I think of how I brought him into my older children’s lives, I can cry. But at least my youngest who is his own child can learn from my mistakes, and while I cannot totally keep her away from his narcissistic ways, I can minimize the contact. That’s something.

    She has a space apart from him, a home where she can relate to others in a healthier and more real way. She would not have that were i still living with her father.

    You know, if the father of your child is basically interested in his child because of his mother, there’s always the possibility he’ll lose interest on his own.

    But whether or not he does, one thing is sure. Your child has you. And that makes ALL the difference in the world.

  3. Survivor says:

    I learned finally that not responding to the ex’s abusive emails deflated his attack. It has taken me a long time to get to that point. That way there is no confrontation that escalates into me being punished through threatened restrictions of the children. I have also looked into Parent Alienation Syndrome which some states do consider in custody situations. At this point, the narcissist has not risen to the level of legal action.

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