Q: I got married when I was 21, my wife and I have two sons, both of them are over the age of 21. Over the years I have always felt that I was living with a schizophrenic. I used to be a lively person but I feel that part of me has been gradually vanishing. From time to time I feel depressed because of her comments and behavior towards me and sometimes feel embarrassed the way she treated others.
My boys do not show her a lot of respect due to the way she talks to them. I didn’t know whether she has a problem or whether I am really never good enough for her. Either way I do think there is something wrong in our relationship. There were times when I thought wouldn’t it be great if I were dead or if she were dead so that I do not need to cause her so much anguish or I don’t need to feel depressed any more. A couple of years ago a friend of mine introduced me to different types of personality disorder which caused me to sorta wake up from the spell. I felt that I’ve been brainwashed into thinking that everyone has a marriage life the way we did. All husbands are to an extend humiliated by their wives, and heave the comedies about abused husbands. My kids were by then 20. I thought it was time for me to start living again. So I told her I’m moving out after one of her big wobbly.
Initially she seemed fine with the decision, we even signed a separation agreement. She got herself a boyfriend who rediscovered great sex with her. I found myself a nice girl as well. So I told her it’s time for us to consider preparing the divorce papers and that I’m seeing someone new. She suddenly became another person. Long story short, she tried everything to get me back, while saying that she’s not trying. Kept pressuring me to give ‘us’ another try despite knowing that I found someone who knows how to love me. And threatening me that my new girlfriend will eventually desert me from my sons… One of my sons started having sympathy for her probably because he was left living with her after our separation. Her connection with that son has actually grown stronger as a result of our separation. And he told me she knew about her tempers but she’s changed for the sake of keeping the family together. Most importantly since she has now left her boyfriend, I am the one who is ‘breaking up the family’. In a way I feel very guilty about not putting my heart into trying it out with her after so many years of marriage. Another part of me wants to give myself a chance to actually have a life.
Now I just feel broken in a way. I have no clue how to have no contact at all with my wife when we have kids and business together. She kept telling me that SHE is part of the family, i.e. the two sons and her are a package. Abandoning her means abandoning my sons as well which I know is not true. However the guilt somehow is eating me up. It is not making my current girlfriend happy as well. To get my wife off my back, I’ve agreed to give her over 75% of what we own together already! But she’s still asking for more. I know she is not the nicest person, but she’s making my departure more painful than having an amputation of a limb. Sometimes I even think that I probably should for the sake of keeping the family together go back to her. Strangely enough I still feel some love and fondness for her, despite her behavior. After reading a lot of materials on NPDs I’m just afraid she will never change. I really don’t know what to do. A big part of me does not want to break up the family, while I have no confidence that we will work. I know getting a new girlfriend is probably complicating the matter but my situation is not making the new girlfriend happy either.
My wife promised a quiet divorce if I do whatever she tells me to do, including not to use my sports car when I go out with my girlfriend, not to let my sons contact my girlfriend, let her have the keys to the holiday house where I’m currently living in and I can use the holiday house on the condition that I do not bring my girlfriend. I really hate to spend money on lawyers, but I really don’t know what I should do. She’s making things so difficult that it may be less stressful for me if I go back to her … My girlfriend is a real sweetheart, like a soulmate to me so I have discussed with her the possibility that the stress upon me is too much to bear and I might have a weak moment when I might take the easy way out by going back to my wife. My girlfriend indicated that she’d understand if that’s the case. It sounds like I’m taking advantage of my girlfriend but that’s really not me. My gf also does not want to see me suffer, if I’d be happier going back to my wife shed be happy for me. I feel like a selfish person. I’ve gone so far down the route of escaping from my wife and she seems to be causing me more pain and trouble than before the separation. Why?
Sometimes I ask myself what have I done to have got involved with a woman like that. Big question is will my wife ever change? Are there statistics on the percentage of NPDs who successfully have a personality change? If I decide to continue with the divorce route, how am I supposed to apply the ‘no contact’ rule with a npd partner when we have kids and business together?
How can you overcome the fact that you are literally ‘breaking up the family’ and not feel guilty about it? That btw is one of the reason why I have second thoughts from time to time about biting the bullet. What can I say to the kids while not actually telling them that my breakup with their mother is really because she is abusive towards me? Will she ever be out of my life? Yes, I seems to have separated from my npd wife, but life after separation seems to be worst than life before that. Why? I thought I’d become happier after the separation, but i am not. Am I making the wrong decision?
A: You are being coerced, controlled and manipulated by a classic NPD woman from the sounds of it. As there is no legal paper yet giving her 75% of the assets, I would spend the money on both a therapist AND a lawyer. The conditions she insists on will only increase and become more and more absurd, as will her increase for demands for more money (until she gets 100% with no consideration for how you are supposed to live). She is a master at playing on your strong feelings of guilt which is why you need a therapist. You are trying to save yourself from an abusive, controlling relationship. You need to stop listening to her (for example, that she is a package deal with your sons) which will come with NO CONTACT.
Your sons are grown—they are adults now, they are not minors and a part of a package deal. They will eventually come around to understanding your point of view—but only if you talk to them. Why can’t you say their mother is abusive toward you? Have they not witnessed it? Do not bad-mouth her as a mother, but discuss how she treats YOU badly. You say they already treat her disrespectfully because of how she talks to them; give them a little more credit for being able to see your point if you discuss it with them. If you have trouble doing that, your therapist can help you with that. Again, your boys are adults– you aren’t trying to work out visitation with their mother. There are some, but few, reasons to talk with her about them but she seems to be treating them like minor children. Please read the articles on NO CONTACT and Co-parenting with a NPD.
Obviously, you can’t go completely NO CONTACT if you have business together but minimize any contact and ONLY discuss business. And ONLY discuss the boys if it involves them. You should be talking directly to your sons-they are adults- not working through their mother. Your soon to be ex-wife is a bully and a master manipulator- no matter how hard she fights (NPD often use children as a weapon) do not lose resolve. Be strong and move on with a healthier life. In the end, your sons will have respect for that. As for your girlfriend- she sounds like a real treasure, I wouldn’t let her slip away. Do NOT let the bully force her out of your life. Stand your ground.
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