We met in university and were the first of our friends to get married. We had our kids soon after we graduated and I chose to stay at home and be a mom, while he worked hard to establish himself in his career.

He was an extremely difficult man and was never really happy — in retrospect he was a lot like my mother, which made being with him easy for me as it was familiar.

As the years went on and he became more successful in his career, he become more arrogant and more impossible to be around. He had no patience for our kids and worked all the time. When he was around the tension in the house was unbearable.

I hated when he was home and I hated when he tried to parent our kids. He was an ass – and I actually despised him.

However I felt stuck.

I grew up in a divorced home and I didn’t want the same fate for my kids. So I put my happiness on the back burner and tried my best to keep it together.

Unfortunately this didn’t last long. The kids were getting to the point where they couldn’t stand their dad either and our home was an extremely unhappy place.

I knew I had to get out but I also knew I couldn’t leave without a plan. So I began to plan and get myself ready.

I met with three different lawyers to get as much information as I could. I chose to meet with three family law lawyers for a couple of reasons. I knew that I had to find someone extremely tough and able to go the distance with me as there was a high probability of ending up in litigation. My husband was an ass and a narcissist and a control freak…. I knew he was going to try and intimidate me and do everything he could NOT to give me a fair settlement. I also knew that once I spoke with a lawyer he could not contact them. I needed to find someone who I felt comfortable with and I could trust.

When I sat him down and told him I was leaving. He was furious. He screamed and yelled and threw one of his typical tantrums and I can remember thinking how happy I was that I had prepared. I knew he would be insane but not this insane… I kept my cool and because I had already seen a lawyer I knew my rights. He threatened me and tried to intimidate me but there was nothing he could say or do to make me lose my nerve.

He moved out but it got nasty. Instead of being reasonable he let his ego get in the way and he fought me on everything and anything just to make a point. Unfortunately I got caught up in his insanity.

The next two years was filled with fighting and arguing. We were both awful and neither one of us would back down.  I won’t bore you with the details but we spent thousands and thousands of dollars fighting and ended up in court. The ultimate agreement was fair and I could live with the terms -and I did for the next 2 years.

However as I lived on a budget, I watched him live a lavish lifestyle. The numbers didn’t add up – obviously his situation had changed. I took him back to court to reopen our settlement. I am ashamed to tell you that I did this three more times. (against the advice of my lawyer)

I was successful the first two times but on the last attempt the judge was pretty harsh with me and I actually got less money and was slapped with his legal costs.  It was then and only then that I took a hard look at myself. I had become even worse than my ex. Everything that I had despised in him was now who I was.  I was seeing “revenge” for all those years I was with him. It took a lot of therapy to help me let go of the past and move forward.

Ten years have passed and I am happy to report that my kids are doing well. I am remarried to a wonderful partner, had another child and am extremely happy. It took a long time to get here but I no longer look back – just forward!

The best piece of advice I can give for anyone out there is DON’T STAY STUCK IN YOUR STORY.

The potential for great happiness only comes when you have inner peace.

Linda

4 Responses to “Don’t stay stuck in your story!”

  1. Heather Feldstein

    Great article. Lots of worthwhile lessons here. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  2. Lina

    I can so relate to this in that I also married someone much like my mother…and put up with it for 24 yrs!! I was not wise enough to consult with 3 lawyers–only 1 and she was not match for my ex narc husband. Long story short he got more then half of what we were worth…he was self employed and knows how to manipulate and cheat very well so I had to pay him a lump sum to avoid spousal support for the rest of his life. Only months after the divorce (freedom!!) I was diagnosed with cancer…the stress of dealing with him did not do me good. My advice is to not stress over what your ex is scheming…you can’t control them…you can only control your reaction to them. Yes he got more then he deserved but I have something he will never have…the respect of our children as well as other family members and friends. Many of our friends saw through his act of Mr. Nice guy…they verbalized to me after I left that they never liked him or trusted him…I have learned that people are smart and can figure things out….yes he lies about me…but can’t fool the smart people and certainly was not successful in convincing the kids I was the bad guy for leaving. All of my children respect my decision to leave their father…he abused them too.

    Reply
    • Michael

      Our story is similar but I was on the different side of the gender spectrum. Yes it happens to men as well. I lost much during the marriage. Dignity, self respect and relationship with once close family and friends. When you leave such a marriage where you are just a worthless tool for some else’s ego enhancement, often all hell breaks loose. If you can’t cooperate as partners and parents during a relationship, how on earth is it expected to do it when you are out. But someone has to be the adult and make it work somehow. Unfortunately it takes so much that even your health deteriorates whether you want it or not. I had the same. After bitter 4 years of court battles and unreasonable litigation imposed by the ex, I almost lost my life. She wouldn’t even have the children visit me in the hospital when the doctors said that my death might be imminent. You have to leave the anger and hate behind. For your sake and the children. I’m glad yours realize. My younger one is in flux, but my older now understand very well why I left and the different life I wanted for them. I still and always will encourage them to work in their relationship with mom even if I never get reciprocated. And yes people are smart, by in large. But such individuals will acquire support and an ego boat with new friends and new enablers, and the hate and lies will always linger. We just have to live in a genuine and courageous way and show are children that life can be wonderful as long as you try to achieve harmony and balance. Hate is all consuming and destructive. Unfortunately the child-adult ex is too self absorbed to be aware of that and spreads destruction everywhere they go. They will never be happy. But you and the kids must.

      Reply
  3. Michael

    I left my ex wife for many reasons, but particularly the negative impact our relationship had on our kids. I was threatened, humiliated by her friends and family whom had no insight into our family’s issues. I was exhausted mentally, financially, lost my home and businesses and even my health. But if there is one thing I did right, is that I refused to hate her for all she did. I find it hard to look or communicate with her, and I am hurt and disappointed from her and her enablers. But I love my boys to no end, and my new partner and new baby girl. I focus on here, now and how I can make an impact in the lives of those who are around me. I will never recover from the injuries my divorce left, but I can sure as hell dance gallantly through life’s challenges while hugging those who are important. Hate is blinding and consuming. It cannot be selectively directed. People who hate with passion, destroy the lives of all around them. Focus on whats now and ahead. Relinquish your hate and ego. Please

    Reply

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