Thinking of leaving (suspected) bpd/npd husband..

posted 4 months ago in Married Life
Post # 528
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2521 posts
Sugar bee

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@tm6173:  Definitely contact your lawyer and see if it’s possible to take the kids to your parents for now. 

I’ve said so many times, your husband sounds so much like my father…the same behavior, lies, manipulation tactics. It’s so familiar. I’ve commented so much already but hopefully the following will be helpful and not annoying, because I think this stuff is important to know. 

I know the word ‘narcissist’ is thrown around a lot, but this is what my dad is, and I think this term fits your husband as well since they are so alike. A narcissist doesn’t really ‘love’ people like we think of love. They aren’t capable of it. People are pawns to be moved around in the way that benefits the them the most. You benefited him when you kept your mouth shut, took care of him, provided him with sex, and took care of the kids. When you stood up for yourself, he had to intimidate you to keep his lifestyle going. If intimidation isn’t working, then he needs to escalate to abuse. Then abuse escalates. Since he cares most about keeping up his image and maintaining dominance over you for his own comfort, your feelings and needs are secondary. 

This is why it’s so dangerous to have the kids in the house with him, because he will never truly love them – they will also become pawns to be used as it benefits him, and abused when it does not. You have already seen this, though you may not have recognized it for what it was.  Previously he couldn’t be bothered about the kids because there was zero benefit for him. He didn’t really love them. But right now, he can pretend to care about the kids and there’s so much benefit for him! He can look like a hero! Expect him to use parenting to make him look really good to everyone. YOU know it’s not real and that he actually doesn’t give a crap about the kids, but to everyone else it LOOKS as though he does. 

This type of thinking can be a mindf*ck, because it’s so…beyond what people like you and me think. You are probably someone who is empathetic, kind, understanding, and very loving. Narcissists are drawn to people like us, because we provide a lot of ‘benefits’ like forgiveness, love, empathy, and care…and will twist ourselves in knots trying to help and fix everyone. It’s so hard to realize that love is just in act for a narcissist and it’s not real. You have been seeing this for yourself, and it’s absolutely devastating to realize – but please don’t blame yourself for being ‘fooled’. This isn’t normal thinking, so it’s very common to not recognize it for what it is. BUT, it’s also very important that you keep it in mind so that you continue to recognize it. 

Your brain and heart doesn’t really want to believe this about him, and that’s why I worry for you. You understandably want to believe the best about him. And that’s what HE wants too. Think of what he has done to attempt to control your opinion of him: attempting to terrify and manipulate you, using the children to guilt you, using sex, and using his emotions to make you feel bad. That didn’t work, but look what he did next. He ‘broke down and admitted’ he lied about you. This is also a manipulation. It’s a threat, disguised as ‘I am so confused and sad’, and you should recognize it for the threat it is. What he’s telling you here is that if you should dare to leave him, he’s going to ruin your repuation and make you pay. He KNOWS you aren’t having an affair, you’ve been very clear with him. This is one terrifying man who is very good at manipulating you. He is also so insecure and has so little ‘real’ love for you, that he’s also hedging his bets while pretending he’s so broken up about this. He is doing that by trashing you to others and also by simultaneously trying to find a replacement for you. 

My father also ran the same smear campaign against my mom when they divorced. He told everyone she had an affair, and ruined her reputation with a lot of people, including her children. Never, ever underestimate an angry narcissist. 

Which brings me to the last part. You say that he’s never been physically abusive. But…that’s not the entire truth. He rages and throws things, and that’s a slight hairsbreadth away from putting hands on you. This is a man who cares about control, dominance, getting what he wants, people’s good opinion of him. This is a man who DOESN’T care about your feelings, your needs, your opinions. He lacks empathy and love for you and his children. So telling a man like this something he doesn’t want to hear, alone, can be incredibly dangerous. He can potentially see that his control, lifestyle, and reputation is about to go down the drain all because of YOU, and he could see this as another opportunity to try to intimidate you into giving in. He could feel very desperate. He could feel very angry. He probably will not think rationally, and he might include the children in this because to him, the children are just pawns to be used and if it results in getting him what he wants (keeping his lifestyle/punishing you) then it’s justified. You can’t know what he is going to want more in that moment though. This is how terrible things happen.

Believe me, I want to tell you things will probably be fine. But growing up with someone like this, I know that you are rolling the dice and you simply CAN’T know. That’s why you simply have to plan for the worst. Because MAYBE he cries and argues, then packs a bag and walks out. But a low empathy man, who rages, has a history of abuse, control, and is about to lose everything he cares about? That’s a potential tragedy in the making. 

One last thing. The most encouraging thing I have seen from him so far, is that he’s been trying to get with other women and trashing you to others. Why? Because it tells me that he might be capable of seeing a life without you. I don’t know if that will hold true when he is finally faced with the actual reality of being served, but if he’s internally processing and he’s been preparing for a life without you, it might make him less dangerous. I’m sorry – I know that particularly was heartbreaking for you, but when I read that particular update, I felt that it might have just saved your life. 

 

 

 

Post # 529
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1613 posts
Bumble bee

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@strawberrysakura:  You’re so right that raging and throwing things is a very small step away from physical abuse.

It takes a certain amount of giving yourself permission to act out in that way. If someone justifies it, they aren’t far from justifying hitting you. I know it is so hard to believe he will actually go there until he does it, but with little ones in the house you cannot continue to risk it. He is so close to realizing he has lost all control. I hope your lawyer gives you the green light to go. 

Post # 530
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2776 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: City, State

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@tm6173:  Hugs, OP. I’m glad you seem to be working with a great lawyer who can help you navigate this. 

Fully agree with the other posters that you don’t want to serve him before you’re out of the home. Leaving is the most dangerous time for women in abusive relationships, so you want to play this as safe as possible. Ideally, you’d be able to get out of the house while he’s at work and be safely away before he realized anything was amiss. I’d also not leave the kids alone with him until there is court-ordered visitation in place, though it would be best if the permanent arrangement is that all of his supervision with them is supervised, with no overnights. 

I’m sure your lawyer has a game plan. Keep gathering evidence where relevant and hang in there! 

Post # 531
Member
3926 posts
Honey bee

I hope your lawyer has some good ideas. I totally understand the concern of not wanting to do anything that will jeopardize custody. I’m still separated from my husband, but living in the same house, and he has been pulling those “dad of the year” type moves knowing I’ve done all the heavy lifting their whole lives. It’s infuriating and it’s nerve wracking not knowing if there’s a chance it could work. 

Post # 533
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2776 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: City, State

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@tm6173:  I’m glad you have a plan ready to go, OP.  We are all cheering you on and look forward to your updates (since we then know you’re safe, but also know that you’re on your way to finding peace and better quality of life for yourself and your kids). 

Post # 534
Member
1518 posts
Bumble bee

OP, I’m glad you’re taking steps and are working with your lawyer. PLEASE confirm with your lawyer before you take any steps suggested by friends or the internet (other than this suggestion haha).

I know a lot of the Bees are well-meaning, but where I practice law taking the kids out of the area, severely restricting access, or unilaterally imposing supervision could really hurt your parenting case. 

With the example of no parenting time until there is a Court Order… since there is no Court Order he could do the same to you. How would you feel if he took the kids to his parents and told you to get a Court Order to see them? The problem in the “in-between” stage is if one parent takes an extreme it often has a polarizing effect and will set them up for a poorer end result.

While emotional manipulation is a form of abuse, I would be surprised if I saw a Court in Canada Order supervised parenting time for what you have described. If he wants to be dad of the year right now then that’s great, he’s stepping up as a parent. More likely he gets overwhelmed and doesn’t want as much parenting as he may posture to family that he does.

I absolutely believe there has been family violence perpetrated against you, and in being exposed to it, your children. Ask him to take some parenting classes if you’re worried about his ability to feed/get them to bed. 

Anyways – no advice other than work with your lawyer to have a game plan. Often a needle works better than a hammer.

Post # 535
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2776 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: City, State

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@minnewanka:  Absolutely OP should work with her lawyer to figure out a way to get herself and the kids to her parents so (a) it’s done legally, and (b) there’s no risk to any them when he’s served with papers. 

And to be clear in my message to the OP, I don’t mean not to let him see the kids (I’m a US attorney and don’t advocate what is essentially kidnapping).  However, I would aim for no overnights unless/until they’re court-ordered simply due to how much that would upset the kids’ normal routines with their primary caregiver. This is a common reason for awarding more/primary custody to one parent, particularly with very young children– the well-being of the children and consistency of routine. I’m sure your attorney has discussed that concept with you, but if not, it could be something to inquire about.  I don’t suspect, given his aversion to being a “real” parent, that he will fight too hard, so for now, a Saturday visit to go get ice cream or see a movie is plenty, depending on the laws in your state and what your attorney advises. 

Post # 536
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2521 posts
Sugar bee

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@minnewanka:  Oh I definitely agree that you want to be VERY careful when it comes to custody arrangements and if the guy wants to step up and be ‘father of the year’, then that works out for the kids. 

Unfortunately the kids are probably in line for emotional abuse and parental alienation…but most courts aren’t going to bar access for that so and it’s better to not give additional ammunition if you can. 

When I said that “the kids need to be out of the house” I mean that they need to be OUT when he is served and when he realizes it is over. That isn’t a way to remove the kids from him, I mean say it’s a ‘vacation’ to visit grandparents during this time. The reason I suggest this is because my fear is that he could actively physically harm the OP or the children out of anger, desperation, or as a way to manipulate or punish the OP. He just isn’t safe for anyone to trust his initial reaction. If the OP chooses to not do this, at the VERY least please have other people present – especially people he particularly wants to look good in front of, such has his parents. It isn’t meant to be a support for her, but to help prevent a violent interaction. And then someone needs to stick around and stay for a few days, because otherwise he will save all his anger and unload it on her and the kids the second ‘his people’ walk out the door and he doesn’t have to pretend anymore. 

Post # 537
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1518 posts
Bumble bee

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@strawberrysakura:  

I may have misread your comment (yay using WB as a distraction at work).

I absolutely agree re: being out of the house and anger issues. I often ask my clients to plan a weekend away/hotel stay when papers are veing served.

Post # 538
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1518 posts
Bumble bee

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@bouviebee:  

I think I probably have a skewed / slightly different perspective than a lot of Bees living in Canada (which is why it’s so important to check with your lawyer re: your state).

Shared parenting is the norm here. The Courts do not believe in the “tender years” doctrine. The general research the Court follows is that children do need stability and routine, but can have more than one primary attachment and we should focus on maximum contact with each parent. 

Saturday ice creams wouldn’t fly here unless something was really, really wrong with how you treated the kids.

We have a lot of caselaw with parents equally sharing kids at one year old – generally on shorter schedules 2/2/3 so the child is not away from either parent for a long stretch of time.

Again, a lot of these scenarios are not going to apply to OP where coercive and controlling behaviour are involved (at least I hope). I find the Courts (here) care much less about emotional and verbal abuse than physical abuse. I have a parent who constantly calls his children’s mother a whore on the opposite side of the file to the kids, he’s had restraining orders against him for harassment, and criminal charges for breaching those Orders. He still sees the kids Wednesday nights and alternate Saturdays to Sundays.

Post # 539
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2521 posts
Sugar bee

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@minnewanka:  No it’s really good that you honed in on this, because people with narcissistic tendencies tend to really focus on stuff like that and use it as ammunition, and literally will do ANYTHING in order to get their way. OP will want to be careful with how she proceeds and make sure she does everything with her lawyer’s blessing…but at the same time, be very aware that he can’t be trusted as a safe person. 

Reading my comment again, I definitely didn’t clarify what I meant by having the kids out of the house in my comment so I don’t think you misread anything, and I’m glad you pointed it out. This is why it’s so important to get multiple perspectives.

Post # 540
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2776 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: City, State

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@minnewanka:  Oh gosh, no.  I wasn’t saying that’s a permanent solution.  Saturday ice creams will only fly up until the point that a mutually-agreed parenting plan is on file with the court or visitation has been court ordered; it’s not a forever arrangement but may keep him happy for now. 

Most US states no longer consider the tender years doctrine when deciding custody, but practically-speaking, the “best interest of the child” standard does tend to lead to maternal preference when children are very young. 

Because it seems to be the path she wants to take, if OP and her lawyer find a way for her to go live with her parents, it stands to reason that the kids would be with her for the time being.  

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