The NSP (Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath) wants engagement and I want peace.
I want peace, I think, more than any other thing. More than money, or power, or beauty, or love. When I lived with the abuser I forgot what peace was like. Leaving the abuser didn't fix it, since we have children together; there were assets to divide, and because he saw me as His Property, he refused to let go.
Extremely Limited Contact
Long stretches of time with No Contact teach me again how peaceful life can be. I left him years ago. Years later, I am still regaining my peace. It has taken me years to regain a sense of the self and life I had before I met the NSP. Before him, I had a life filled to the brim with autonomy, friends, money in the bank, career, freedom, heaps of beauty and health. I appreciated my life, but I didn't understand how tenuous my position was. I had no concept of evil. I had never been taught how to defend myself from a predator, so I ignorantly felt rather bullet proof. Once upon a time, I met the NSP and in many ways, it felt like a dream come true. I married him. I had children with him. My life was dismantled by him. I became a shadow of my former self.
Years later, I still do the work of reclaiming the Me-I-Used-To-Be before he began whittling me down to a wooden stub of a person. Yes, it is alarming that it has takes so long to recover. Yes, I am astonished. Unfortunately, a long recovery seems to be very typical.
At first, the simple fact that he was no longer in my personal space came with such an atypical abundance of peace that I was in bliss. Next came days with no contact, no emails, nothing. Those days were like holidays. I treasured them and reveled in the peacefulness, literally dancing around my home and singing with joy. Imagine Julie Andrews singing on that mountain top in "The Sound of Music". Sunlight, streaming in windows. That was me, so happy to be free. Mind you, all during the early years of my escape, I was still embroiled in his narcissistic/psychopathic battles over children and money. He continued to do all the games that malignant narcissists (aka psychopaths) do, and these games (aka abuses) continued to do me great harm in every front.
An Aside: It is worth mentioning that living with chronic stress is a real health hazard, and I have also suffered greatly in that regard. I feel it is my duty to protect myself for a long and healthy future. I'm like one of those old men you read about, who had a heart attack at 45, and remarkably still thrive at 85. "How did you do it?" the interviewer asks. "I gave up all forms of stress and conflict," the old man says. That old man has become my mentor. I will not rise to the bait. My health is valuable.
Still - despite custody battles and imminent court dates and wasteful mediations and threats of this-and-that, and his continued pleading for me to "come back to the marriage for the sake of the children" - I had moments of peace. These moments of peace built upon themselves to make a mountain of peace. I guard that mountain like sacred ground.
I have learned to guard my peace and privacy and space and time like a soldier. I have a right to Peace. No disordered person gets in here to wreak havoc in my world. I shut the door. I remove myself from the situation. I will not participate.
My own children learn their father's disordered ways. I try to help them, to correct the damage, but I am only one person and my influence is limited to human mother, not God. This is why I appreciate Al-Anon, where I can practice remembering that I am not in control, I am not all-powerful.
The cultural trend is to give the father equal time no matter his deficiency. The custody evaluator identified the NSP as a narcissist, but it made no difference. Stable home-life is not the trend. Back and forth between houses and parents the children go; children are forced to cope with differing rules, routines and standards. With a NSP as the co-parent, I am forced to pick up the pieces of the wreckage. The NSP is a destroyer of all.
I can not co-parent with a NSP . No one can. If he wasn't disordered we would still be married, because why on earth would I want to be apart from my children? I am apart from them because I could not LIVE with their father. As in: I could not be alive with him. He was killing me slowly. He threatened my life repeatedly. It was an unlivable situation.
I am free now.
I am free of being married to him, but I do not have my liberty.
I fought my hardest to get the most custody I possibly could. With complete devotion, I tried to protect my children. I learned the hard lesson that I am not in control. Not in control of my own life, my right to mother my own children, my own privacy, my own time.
Look up the word "liberty". I don't have liberty. I married an NSP and had I children with him. I can make a really good argument for using a sperm donor.
Women married to normal men think they have some control and power. No they don't. They have a stable life that makes it appear that they have control and power over their lives.
Get the law involved. Have the sheriff come and serve papers. Get lawyers to subpoena medical records and friends' and relatives' testimonies. Custody evaluations, drug tests and Child Protective Services will teach you some lessons about freedom and liberty.
Then, tell me how you feel about the existence of your own power.
We live in a community. A culture. We are of our community and culture. We are not separate. Our community and culture dictate how life will go.
I have limited power. I have limited rights. I have learned the hard way.
I used to live in a bubble: a glossy, shiny, non-poor educated white woman bubble. My understanding of fairness and justice was limited, immature and untested. I had never been on the wrong side of power. Not really.
I have been liberated from my cluelessness.
I am at peace now. I don't thrash about with indignant rage and bitterness. I know the reality. I have been to the battered women's shelter. I have been to the courthouse. I have dailed 911 for protection from my abuser. The police have been on my doorstep too many times. They have been kind and professional, but never able to do much of anything. How about the time the sheriff knocked on my door and served me with papers that accused me of being an unfit mother. He said to me with sympathetic eyes, "Darlin', just because it's written down, doesn't mean it's true."
The community and culture will decide fate if the parties can not agree. My children are out of my custody far too often, but it is the culturally approved standard. The community and culture decided this was the right way, the best way.
It is not the best. It is not right.
I can do very little.
Doing nothing is actually my best choice. Best for me. Best for my children.
I could run myself into the ground emotionally and financially. I did that for a while. I quit because it was worse than fruitless; it worsened our lives. So, I deal with what I have, a custody situation that sucks. Sucks! I dislike it. My kids dislike it. But the NSP wants it. So, we have it. Okay.
Silence is Golden
If I can not have my kids full-time, and this is my life, well, then, I need to enjoy my life. I need to love my life.
When my out-of-control children are demonstrating their hatred of the custody situation, I hold onto them without holding onto their pain. Holding onto their pain only makes me sick. It helps no one. I shut my door at times. Focus on the disordered psycho bully makes a person sick. We look elsewhere.
My children get older. They have their own lives. They are big. I can not carry them very far, nor do I need to. They have resources. If I carry them when they can walk, it destroys me. I engage with their father and it destroys my peace.
I stay silent with their father as much as possible. I focus elsewhere instead of focused on him. He is sick and always will be. My children benefit most from having a strong and happy mother, with strong boundaries, strong in herself, with friendships and successes they can see.
I stay silent with their father and my life returns. Happiness returns. Hope returns.
Silence is Golden.
Silence is Golden.
Silence is Golden and I have become greedy for more.
by AKA Rose Lee Mitchell