In the first blog of this series, I began to explain why divorce from a narcissist should be timed perfectly. Leaving a narcissist during the discard phase will generally have no effect on the narcissist. If you are married to a covert narcissist, like I was, you’ll understand that you can wait for him to leave during one of his many silent treatments or disappearing acts. Just like a magician who makes the magical dove disappear, the narcissist in your life disappears as well.
Phase 2: The Devaluation Phase
As quickly as the narcissist declared his love for you, you will have the misfortune of experiencing this next phase. As empathic and maybe even codependent, lovely women, we haven’t developed healthy boundaries. The narcissist knows this, which is why he is so attracted to you. A woman with strong, healthy boundaries will be disgusted and unnerved by his love-bombing, and a narcissist will have no interest in a woman with healthy boundaries. You wonder where Mr. Perfect has gone. The man who was so charming and interested in your every move has been replaced by someone who seems to look at you with disgust and is silent and aloof around you. You can do no right anymore. The things that were so “perfect” about you are not points of contention for him. Your independence is now characterized as “selfishness.” He now makes quips about how your intelligence is really just “book smarts,” or in my case, the narcissist claimed I was not so smart after all, and if I was so smart, I’d be a freaking zillionaire! He doesn’t seem interested in being around you. He is always late, rarely texts or calls, and he doesn’t seem to care about you at all.
Welcome to being devalued. The good news is that the lovely woman that you have always been is always there, and you haven’t changed a bit. The narcissist, never happy and without a true inner-self, feels constant unease, anxiety, and anger. He has no insight, and he is always the perpetual victim. Worthy of only “ideal” love, your real, human qualities have no part in what he “deserves,” which is perfection. It must be you that makes him feel awful, since he is incapable of true love and self-regulation. He cannot self-soothe. You are the guilty party, in his soulless eyes. So, when he is stuck in this phase, he will be looking for the next best toy or actively pursuing her.
It’s at this point that you need to understand that the person you so want back from phase one was just an illusion. It was the mirror he held up for you to see your own reflection. It was a mask created perfectly for you. That man never existed, and he will never be back, no matter how hard you try, and you have tried harder to make this relationship work than any other, I bet, hoping to get back Mr. Perfect.
Phase 3: The Discard Phase
This is the perfect place to leave the narcissist. Obviously, please call me before you do this so that we can help you develop a solid plan. Divorcing a narcissist requires perfect timing and a good divorce strategy.
You are to blame for not living up to his expectations of the perfect wife, an image he’s created. He’ll get upset about something very minor, blow up, and he’ll leave with bags in hand. He will ostracize you, and
he will cut off his phone. He will block you from social media. He will tell you he wants a divorce and that you’ve really screwed up “this time!” You are too jealous/bitchy/clingy/demanding/nagging.
If you have abandonment wounds and fear abandonment, like most of us, he will use the disappearing act to trigger those wounds, making you beg and plead like a child whose mother has disappeared out of her sight while shopping. You will cling to his legs, and you promise to just do whatever he wants. This is abuse! It’s manipulative and is the very definition of emotional abuse. You do not deserve this. The narcissist wants you to feel abandoned and wants you to beg and plead for his magnificent return (sarcasm), and he will know which buttons to push and wounds to re-open. This is very, very traumatic, and it will take a toll on your mental and physical well-being. I almost died, suffering serious physical injuries from the insidious abuse. Leaving someone feeling repeatedly abandoned and ostracized can kill you, and if you have any doubts, read about banishment as a penal form of punishment.
Your spouse has no right to cut off all communication just because you asked for some reciprocity in your marriage. Most often, like me, you won’t even know what you’ve done to deserve this harsh abuse. Like me, you’ve done nothing. Just as narcissist husband disappears, he magically reappears, like the magician pulling the disappearing dove out from behind your ear. If you dare bring up that you’re hurt or disappointed, or if you want to talk about anything, he will threaten you with more silent treatment or disappearing acts. So, like a good narcissistic spouse, you stuff down your feelings, you take the blame, and you remain quiet. Meanwhile, your soul is slowly dying. Your adrenal glands are failing, and you will start having serious health problems.
If you are lucky like I was, you can file for divorce after the discard and abandonment. There is no shame in what’s happened to you. You have been through hell. You can make this the narcissist’s final discard. If he wants a divorce, give him one. You will be glad that you can reclaim your self-dignity and begin the healing process and deal with your post-traumatic stress disorder. You can start dealing with the abuse and trauma that you’ve suffered.
If you’re ready to get a divorce, Contact Keithley Law, PLLC, PLLC today by calling (703) 454-5147and schedule an initial consultation in our Fairfax law office with one of our Virginia divorce attorneys. We can walk you through the steps to get the most out of your divorce.