Comments: How to Cope?
here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a
substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.
My dearest Vivi, I struggled for years with similar issues (not so much financially as emotionally and mentally). As for me, I had become a spiritually crippled. Looking back, I wish I had turned more quickly to those people who were willing to give me hard advice instead of those who only listened sympathetically or joined in my “spouse bashing”. I would never presume to give you the answer to your problem, however, I can share with you the answers I am finding for mine. Vivi, I will start with a prayer for you that God will grant you the spirit of Wisdom that you might learn to despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after those things that are eternal. Vivi, within you is a spirit that is eternal. A spirit that was breathed into you from God, Himself. It is beautiful and wondrous, even though currently you have allowed it to be overshadowed by the dark cloud of your Ex. Tear your eyes away from your Ex – refuse to look at him, respond to him, think about him, or talk to or about him - and train your eyes back on you. Refocus your life. Make your own life about you, not your Ex.
Believe in God. Believe also in yourself. Protect, feed and grow this spirit of God that is in you. If you can only achieve this by cutting off all communication with your Ex (even email) do it – he is toxic to you. Your standard of living might suffer somewhat (who knows, it may increase as the legal expenses you mention decrease), but the peace you will receive in your spirit will surpass all understanding. Do not fear, and do not be intimidated by your Ex. Also, do not repay abuse for abuse. Take to heart what God has promised in Isaiah 51 – “I, I am he who comforts you; why then are you afraid of a mere mortal who must die, a human being who fades like grass? You have forgotten the Lord, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth. You fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction. But where is the fury of the oppressor? The oppressed shall speedily be released; they shall not die and go down to the Pit, nor shall they lack bread.” Instead of attempting to discipline your Ex, discipline yourself. Don’t waste another thought on your Ex.
Prepare your mind for action. Develop your own interests. Do those things you wish you had done, but never got around to because your Ex was in the way. Continue your education. You might want to get a meaningful job – or a not so meaningful one if that’s your cup of tea. Take a fun class with that beautiful daughter of yours. Get involved with your son in a fun way, one on one, without the distraction of your Ex. Make new family traditions when you are together. Seek peace, and pursue it. Whenever possible and as far as it is within your control, make your own home one of peacefulness. When you are in your home with your children, do everything in your power to fill the house with smiles, laughter, joy and peace. Love yourself and your children deeply and from the heart. Consciously strive to make your home a place of rest not only for your own soul, but also for your children, if they so choose. Do not allow any mention of your Ex in your own home unless it is just in passing. Allot only brief periods of time for “hashing out issues” when necessary, and then when it’s over, do something positive and fun.
You deserve to have your own life be about you. Resist your ex - who prowls around looking for someone to devour - and remain steadfast and faithful to yourself. It might turn out that once your Ex realizes he is losing his power over you (because you are taking back your own power) he will move on to find a new target and leave you alone. Please don’t read this as piously spoken. Having been in your own shoes, I still have to remind myself of these things almost daily. When at first you attempt to put these things into practice, it can feel overwhelming. Tackle one thing at a time and above all be patient with yourself. Treat yourself like you would a dear friend. I am finding that in becoming my own best friend, I am able to be a much better friend to others. In loving myself well, I am able to extend that love to others in a way I have never been able to before. My relationships are becoming more meaningful (and fun!). I’m finding it to be so true, that only when we truly love and value our own selves, can we understand how to truly love others. In the process of applying all these principles, I have found the material things in this world begin to pale into insignificance. And wonder of wonders – I still have a roof over my head and food in my refrigerator!!!!! Love to you and peace from Christ who enables us to overcome the world (and our Ex’s!).
Vivi, I am sorry you're going through so much. Your pain is so heavy. I'm here to tell you that you don't carry the weight alone. So many of us are either going through or have gone through something similar. And we bear the burden with you. Reading your story makes me re-live my feelings of frustration when going through my divorce. My ex felt and stated I didn't deserve anything and would get nothing. Well at first I said that's o.k...fine. Just let me out of this miserable marriage. Then I got to thinking, and thinking and did more thinking. For more than 20 years I slaved for him. I did his cooking, cleaning, shopping, sewing, babysitting, (all the wife and mother stuff) not to mention working full time most of those years. I thought about how no matter how tired I was I did whatever he wanted, how ever he wanted it done. On top of all that, according to him I was stupid, crazy and good for nothing. He was always angry...very hostile, extremely verbally abusive. I thought of how he had put me "down" for years to his friends and anyone would listen. (And is still doing the character assassinating right up to this day). I thought about all of the women during our marriage. I counted up to seven (7) that I could name.
All of this made me realize that I need to fight for what rightfully mine, legally mine, half mine. I set out to do just that. Fully charged! Fired up to win the battle! But one day before the court date, still going through so much emotional trash. Dealing with him, the gossip, the kids, work...so much stress and strain, I figured out what was going on. He wanted me to fight him. And the longer I did that the longer he could control me, control my life. You know they have to control us to feel that "power". They are very sad people. Anyway, this is what I did. My lawyer wanted to ask for alimony plus an equitable division of properties. But rather than put myself and children through such a long drawn out process, I got a piece of "Backbone" and told my ex what I would settle for...OR...if he wanted, we could go to trial so I could expose publicly what he is really like. He very reluctantly agreed to what I asked...but I asked for a lot less than what was rightfully and legally mine.
My payoff? Peace of mind, quietness in my life, calm nerves, and much much more. His payoff? He may have most of what we worked for; but he has lost the respect of his children and lost the best wife he could ever have.
Vivi, listen to Dr Irene, sometimes we have to step back and look at our situations to find what we truly need most. Your sanity and health are very important for yourself and your children. Your journey will take time, mine does too. But even a trip through the desert is better if someone gives you water along the way. I hope all of us are a refreshment for you. Best wishes..MeMe
Thank you posters for your thoughtful replies.
But Vivi! Where are you? I'm here to reply to your posts and you're not here! I'm going to give you another week because I'm hoping you'll come back. OK? Dr. Irene, June 17, 2004.
Dear Irene, I have had another week of having to stand on these shaky legs and make more decisions. So I am sorry you have not heard from me. I have replied to the post after the first comment and it appears that you have not received it. I was explaining why I had fought so hard, I have Sjorgrens Disease and was born with an immune deficiency, which now has become worse affecting other important parts of my immune system.
I had the children and the dog to look after plus my ill health and didn’t know how I would manage. I always make a joke saying he only gave me “the kids and the dog”. He never fought over them and yet he declares his love for them. You are correct in saying that I need to stop the fight, as I’m exhausted! It’s time, and my counselor agrees. I have been on antidepressants for a long time with increases in the doses. It is correct in that he has got me in ‘emotional bondage’ and he knows it!
Giving thought to everyone I rang his solicitor and said…”what does he want what ever it is he can have it”. To my surprise I got an offer of a lump sum, which is half of what he would have to pay me in the 7 years of spousal maintenance, and I am willing to accept it to be rid of him.
I asked for this amount 2 years ago but he wanted it in joint bank account with him having control, I refused! The issue is he will chose the year he pays this and until then he has to pay me spousal maintenance which he keeps mucking me about by paying on different days etc. It’s this offer that I have had to think hard once again, as I don’t trust him at all! I look hard for what it truly means. It’s like a war and working out the strategies of the enemy! If I get this money I will manage and maybe better than weekly spousal maintenance, which is substantial, but as I tend to live within my means, this will be forced saving! I hope I never get involved with another like him! Life is short and important to waste but I do see that he has taught me lots. Maybe one of those things is to survive under extreme difficulties! Vivi Dear Vivi, I'm glad to hear from you! I was a little concerned when you hadn't posted, and I had not gotten any other communication from you. Nevertheless, I'm glad he appears ready to settle. And I'm glad you seem OK with the settlement. Not settling just costs him more cash, and that's your chip. I wish you a quick settlement and improved health. You have put up a good fight. God bless you, Dr. Irene, June 26, 2004.
I really liked what Dr Irene said, and it was so true for me too. After my divorce, I chose to walk away with nothing but a measley child support check. It was worth it - I went to school for a profession that was flexible and let me support myself. I never had to count on him for money, support or anything. He couldn't threaten me because he didn't hold anything over me. One time I asked for more support so he threated he would take our son every other week. i knew he was blowing smoke, but I didn't even have to respond because I didn't need him - it felt really good to stand on my own! Fortunately, he stayed out of the way for my son's first 10 years. Gradually he began spending more time with our son, and has developed a good relationship with him. We actually are able to co-parent quite well. I did have the tendancy some times to try too hard to not "rock the boat", but I've gotten over that. He is responsible for himself and I don't have to go out of my way to make things ok for him. All my decisions are based only on what is best for my son. Thankfully my fiance is wonderful and understands the dynamics and supports me in my decisions. Good luck, Suzanne
Dr Irene, What is the best way of dealine with a mild female narssicist? I have recently broken up with a narcissist. She pushed the blame on to me for breaking up when in fact everything was going fine. I definitely did not give her the attention she needed as a narcissist but I did not realise it at the time. I have onyl recently starte fitting the pieces of the jigsaw together - her past anorexia, obsession with swimming, a desperae need to help others, a feeling that others are jealous of her, relationships that only last 3 months or so, high turnover of boyfriends, (she also takes Venlafaxine - is this a drug you are accustomed to?). Her fathe ris a psychiatrist and I wonderi fthis has nything to do with her condition or what effect it might have on it. My question is how I respond to her now. She has decided to keep in touch after having ignored my e-mails and calls for 1 month. DO you think her narcisstic supply is low and she is tapping into old sources? What is the best way to respond? Do I indulge her handicap or ignore it/her? Thank you for your help and understanding.
Dear Irene, Thankyou for your support. The fighting has stopped even though I asked for the settlement to be complete a year from now and he wanted that to be left open. Sometimes I know I am missing the point in understanding 'controlers' I always wondered how would I support our children now that the fighting is over my ex is so generous with the kids. This is what he wanted! He wanted to be the one to give them everything! I am fine with this as they will love me for me not what I give them in material things. I suppose this is his way of showing love! We live and learn! Regards Vivi
Vivi, You are absolutely right - your kids will love you because you are their mom, you are honest with them and you love them. My ex was the same way - would try to buy affection and respect. It may be appealing to a kid to get "stuff", but they realize before long what is going on. My ex's kids only call him when they need something. I think he's actually beginning to see the consequences of his behaviors. I never said anything negative to my son about his dad. He figured it all out on his own. It also used to drive my ex crazy when he would see that I could make it on my own and I didn't need him. He was very controlling, so when he couldn't control me, it blew his whole plan. Take care, Suzanne
Vivi! This man is going to self-destruct eventually. But waiting for that to happen isn't feasible especially if you succumb to his abuse first. Sooooo, what you have to examine is WHAT, exactly, HE'S getting out of all this. There's a ~pay off~ in it for him. You've got to figure out just what that is and PLUCK IT from the equation. I agree with Dr. I. You've got to cut your losses to save your sanity. Rather than focusing on the *injustice* of the situation and engaging in this perpetual war, you need to start looking at what you CAN do that will give you your power back, and, at the same time, discover ways to disarm him. His ~power~ lies in his financial control over you. What can you afford to do without? I'm willing to bet there are *little things* that you could cut from the equation that are BIG THINGS to him because they make him feel powerful and in control. This whole situation is all about control. The first thing I would cut from the equation is any contact with him. Don't respond to his emails. He's getting something BIG from your responses and your upset. That's a *little thing* you can take away easily with no cost. He ~loves~ to keep you engaged in his *hamster wheel*. Take this *pleasure* away from him. Read *The Art of War* by Sun Tzu. This book is over 2500 years old but is still relevant concerning contempory conflicts. It will help you learn how to cope with injustices effectively instead of being emotionally crippled by them. Tallulah
Dr. Irene, If you are in a verbally abusive relationship. what should be your first and maybe second step to changing yourself so that you don't continue to fall into the trap. the trap, I mean of starting to feel like the changes your making are wrong. and that your being to critical of your lover, and that life is screwed up in lots of places. my mother says everyone has problems it's part of life. but when do you realize that the problems your having are too much, not normal? I feel confused, I've been trying to change things in my life by going to college to start. socializing more. but i'm getting alot of " I'm being selfish, not spending enough time with my family". from my husband. I start to wonder if I really am being unreasonable. I could go on. anyway, do you have some advice for me to atleast start with. confused in denver
Hi Vivi, About 8 years ago I found myself drowning in the darkest depression I had ever known. The situation that brought it on isn't really all that important, but suffice it to say that I was at a point where I actually stood looking in a mirror thinking, "Oh my God, what in the world has happened to me," and I found myself struggling with the thought, "Well if this is what I have to look forward to, what could possibly be the use of continuing on?" It's so weird how, as kids, we feel so invincible, and then 20, 30, 40, 50 years later, we find ourselves boxed into such a tremendous darkness with seemingly no way out. The thought of handling things through medication was a strong draw, but something in me intuitively knew that the problem -- or at least the real solution to the problem -- would have to take place at a more fundamental level. Fortunately, no, gratefully, the way out appeared. I somehow stumbled upon the works of Guy Finley, and that was the beginning of the end of this torment. I would encourage you to find a copy of one of Guy Finley's books -- either The Secret of Letting Go, Freedom from the Ties that Bind, or Let Go and Live In the Now. You can find them at most libraries, book stores, or right from Guy Finley's Web site at: http://www.guyfinley.com/Welcome/9/CD1/71 I wish there were a way to convey the sincerity of this message, but I just can't think of a way to do it. But if you have any questions, you're more than welcome to email me at (removed)Take care of yourself, Tim