What is a narcissist?

Dec., 23, 2012 _  According to Wikipeada:

Symptoms of this disorder include[1]:

  • Reacting to criticism with angershame, or humiliation
  • Taking advantage of others to reach their own goals
  • Exaggerating their own importance, achievements, and talents
  • Imagining unrealistic fantasies of success, beauty, power, intelligence, or romance
  • Requiring constant attention and positive reinforcement from others
  • Becoming jealous easily
  • Lacking empathy and disregarding the feelings of others
  • Being obsessed with oneself
  • Pursuing mainly selfish goals
  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships
  • Becoming easily hurt and rejected
  • Setting goals that are unrealistic
  • Wanting “the best” of everything
  • Appearing unemotional

In addition to these symptoms, the person may also display dominance, arrogance, show superiority, and seek power.[6] The symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder can be similar to the traits of individuals with strong self-esteem and confidence; differentiation occurs when the underlying psychological structures of these traits are considered pathological. Narcissists have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others. Yet, they have a fragile self-esteem and cannot handle criticism, and will often try to compensate for this inner fragility by belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth. It is this sadistic tendency that is characteristic of narcissism as opposed to other psychological conditions affecting level of self-worth. [7]

Domestic Abuse is a difficult problem to solve

Nov. 30, 2011 _ My ex-husband has been abusing me in one form or another for nearly 20 years. Within that period was a 10-year period of physical abuse, but the emotional abuse has been on-going and in many ways, much more painful.

We aren’t poor, stupid or friendless. We are “normal” people, who have “made it.”

But, we are not normal.

We have each made a place in this world that includes good jobs, wealth, children, homes, cars, friends and family, and so on. But, that doesn’t change that my life, the lives of my children and I suspect my ex-husband’s life will never been normal.

I live with an almost daily ache that can permeate everything in my life if I let it. In the wee hours of the morning, I can suddenly wake from horrible dreams that involved my ex screaming at me or worse. I rarely get back to sleep after one of those dream as the voice in my head relives some of the more frightening incidents. Sometimes when I am making parenting decisions, I consider how my volatile and jealous ex will react if he knew what I was doing. Sometime my children withhold information from their father because they fear his temper.

I can fall into a depression thinking about my own stupidity that I married this man in the first place or that it seems I will never be free of his abuse, lies and manipulations.

I worry about how he is treating my children and the effect that his mental unhealthiness will have on their minds and hearts as they grow up. I worry that my youngest will get hit by his Dad and I won’t be around to protect them.

Some days I am giddy with happiness that I got out of the marriage, but so sad that I could not give my children two parents in one home. Some days that giddiness slides away when I realize that he has figured out another of my vulnerabilities that he can exploit and the following paranoia can grab me hard.

I worry that his new wife, who reacts so strongly against me, will turn against my children in an effort to combat me. I worry that my ex will throw his own children under the bus to gain ground with his new wife, as he has done to me.

I can spend a whole day battling the need to call my ex and beg for peace or to help him get the emotional help that he needs to get healthy.

I entertain feelings of tread, revenge, anger, resentment, pain, and sadness and of course anxiety that something will happen to me or my kids.

I worry that I am not equipped to parent my kids through the various feelings that they have being the children of a very unhealthy parent.

I worry about my former mother-in-law, who is often the victim of my ex-husband’s rathe and has suffered for years at his hands and sharp tongue. And I worry that my ex is not providing a good example for our children on how to treat people.

I have continued therapy and support groups over the years to help me manage these feeling that sometimes makes me feel exhausted and fed up with dealing with this ongoing problem.

And despite this massive amount of emotional damage, I deal with so many people who “don’t want to take sides” and still seem to think that domestic abuse is some sort of couple’s argument that escalated just a little too far. I watch even lawyers and authority back away from getting involved in domestic abuse because they don’t want to take the time to figure out if the women is telling the truth, despite the statistics that show so few of the cases are trumped up.

I see very smart people, including my ex, who try very hard to compartmentalize his abuse and try to separate it from  all the “good” things he has done. As if the mental illness and internal voice that gives him the right to hit someone, somehow goes away and his not part of his character when he pushes his kids to over achieve or interacts with his second wife or reports to his boss or writes an article about another NFL player who beats up a girlfriend.

I watch some of my own family members get pissed that I have brought out this dirty little secret and no longer keep it behind my home’s front door, where they think it belongs. I have watch some friends turn away from me because they don’t want to believe that the couple they knew was a lie and the reality is ugly and not easy to deal with.

I have had to have the authorities get involved in the parenting of my teenage children because my ex has used the court system to abuse me now that he doesn’t use violence to control me. I know that I’m a good mother, a pretty good one in fact. Involved, thoughtful, a good provider, not perfect, but respectful of my children. But, I’ve been accused of being a bad mother who doesn’t deserve custody by ex and his wife and I had to face them in court more than once as they aggressively attacked me in front of the law.

None of these feelings feel good. In fact, they suck.

Yet, I’m happy. Despite it all, I’m happy. I’m happy that I got my children out of the horrible environment. I’m happy that despite two attempts in court, my ex has not prevailed in his accusations against me. I’m happy that I have so many friends and family members who have stepped up to give their support of me, and have been willing to accept the reality of my family and have not been afraid to get real.

I am grateful to my sister who is the only person in my life who confronted my ex and put him on notice years ago and let him know that she was not going to tolerated his abuse of her family. She has come to my emotional aid in person and on the phone more times than I can count. I am grateful that I have more friends and family members who have supported me. I am grateful to the many bloggers who have shared their stories so that I understand my ex, myself and abuse more than ever before.

I am also hopeful that the laws in this country will change and domestic violence will be treated as it should and those abusers like my ex will be held accountable. So that he will stop.

I am hopeful that no one else will ever go through the pain of domestic abuse and I am hopeful that my life will only get better as I move away from the years of abuse.

I am hopeful that my children will not grow up with mental and emotional illness and will never hit their partners.

I am hopeful that all the agencies and law enforcement will change the thinking of others and realize that abuse is assault and battery, a crime, and very destructive. It is not the result of a wife yelling at a husband or a wife needling a man. It is a horrible choice made by a very unhealthy person that needs to be held accountable for the choice. And frankly, needs to be treated differently than the “normal” person.

What’s funny about abuse?

Nov. 26, 2011 _ As I deal with the various emotions created by the physical abuse of the past and the emotional abuse I’ve just faced, I desperately want to find inner peace and forgiveness. I want to be healed and I want to find humor in my life.

I was raised in a family of smart-asses and funny cousins who could make you spit your milk through your nose in a heartbeat. That laughter helped us through the dramas of domestic life.

Today, my mind desires to laugh about the rollercoaster I ride with my ex-husband and the turmoil that an abuser can cause … but how is getting strangled funny?

I relive the event in my mind, and I can’t think of a single comment that would make me laugh about a husband charging his pregnant wife and wrapping his hands around her neck.

Nothing funny at all about that.

I imagine that I’m Carrie Fisher, who made readers laugh out loud with tales of very sad and serious subject matters .. addictions, mental illness, divorce … she made them all seem bearable with her sarcastic twist. I admire Nora Ephron, who famously wrote about her famous ex-husband’s infidelities, and made me laugh ’til I cried in the telling.

I wish I could find the humor of my situation. I wish I could find the laughter about my ex suing me for custody of my beloved boys. Maybe if I could, I could feel healed and could find the peace of mind that I seek.

Maybe I can’t laugh about the surreal events of domestic abuse because it is not the slightest bit funny. Maybe there is no humor in a man standing over his wife with rage in his eyes and violence in his heart. Maybe the picture of a child left at the door, screaming “Daddy please come back” while Daddy drive away in anger is not anything but sad.

I can find humor in a lot of tragedy in the world. I love to laugh and spit milk! I have found the jokes in my mother’s death and so many sad situations. But, I can’t find the humor in my abuse. What is funny about that?

Domestic abuse makes many uncomfortable … but it’s wrong

Nov. 10, 2011 _ As a victim of domestic abuse and a controlling ex-husband, I have faced many different reactions from my abuser, family members and friends. Of course, my ex says he is sorry for the abuse he inflicted on me for 10 years of our 15-year relationship, but he usually qualifies his apology that I deserved it or brought it on.

Most of my friends and family have offered me support when they find out and are horrified when they learn what was really going on behind closed doors of my home. Some want details. Some don’t want to hear the details. Some are still in disbelief that the people they thought they knew well were in the middle of a drama that they can’t imagine. And sometimes, that disbelief can look and feel like a condemnation of the public disclosure and maybe even me.

I understand why people struggle getting their heads around a friend of family member either abusing or being abused. I had a hard time getting my head around it and I was there, getting beat up. It does seem surreal, and unbelievable. I never thought my ex would do such a thing, and keep doing it.

I saw the good traits of my ex and I wanted to focus on that. I excused his behavior over and over again and attributed his choice to hit to his poor upbringing and his mental and emotional illnesses. I offer felt compassion for him after he hit me, because I felt that he must have been in so much pain that he had to hit. Unfortunately, those feelings enabled me and kept me in a very dangerous situation that risked my life and the lives of my children.

Unfortunately, the feelings of others kept me there too. They didn’t know it, but I was worried how everyone would feel about it. I worried that my ex would loose his job, his friends, and that the people I loved and carried about would have to face something very bad. My silence kept all of that away.

Also, I wasn’t strong enough to face it myself and face how some people might react badly toward me. Afterall, I was already blaming myself for the abuse. Now my loved ones might, too. There were so many powerful emotions and thoughts that drove me to stay for so many years and to continue even after divorce to put up with abusive, controlling behavior from my ex.

Thankfully, I no longer live day to day in that emotion. I am not always strong, but I always find a way back to the facts. The first and for most is that I did not cause the abuse. My ex abuses me because he gets an emotional payoff to do so. He is addicted to the feeling he gets when he feels the power of controlling others. He chooses to abuse all on his own. He is not a good person who is pushed to the brink. He is a very unhealthy person and he deals with his inside demons with abuse the same way that others eat or drink their feelings. He is self-medicating. And I nor anyone else is put on this Earth to be used in that way. These are very important perspectives that I try to keep in mind.

But here are some other facts that should be in the forefront:

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women ages 18-44 _ MORE than car accidents, mugging and rapes COMBINED.

One woman is beaten by her husband or partner every 15 seconds.

3-4 million women are beaten in their homes from husbands, ex-husband, or male lovers.

85% of domestic violence victims are women.

1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

Domestic abusers offer use their children as a way to control their ex’s after divorce and 70% of domestic abusers ultimately abuse their children.

Most women attempt to make many changes in the dynamics of their family in order to make the abuse stop, but it doesn’t because the batterer is making a behavioral choice that only he can control.

The cycle of violence

I’ve had to reeducate myself lately on the cycle of violence for an abuser. As you have read, my ex husband has come on stronger and stronger of late and I am living with some of the fears I did when I was married to him.

I have believed that my ex is under pressure in his current marriage as his wife seeks control and is frustrated by how much control I seemly have in her life. And when he is under pressure, I’ve believed that he looses control of himself and lashes out.

But I have it wrong.

And the cycle of violence wheel has helped me understand again what is really going on and why I have to be careful.

The cycle works like this: The abuser has a violent episode, then there is an absence of violence, then tension builds, then it escalates, then there is a violent episode. In my situation, my ex’s violent episodes (as far as I know) was when we were separated and getting divorced, then he went for a year or two without violence and not much tension, then the tension began building when I started to demand child support owed and held to boundaries regarding the children, now it is escalating as he makes threats to me about the custody, the kids’ schedule, child support. He complains that he is the victim and is being treated poorly. He complains that he is under pressure.

When I look at my ex husband’s behavior in those terms, it worries me at where he will end up. I am not so worried for myself, but for my kids. I hope that his behavior doesn’t continue on the cycle and that he gets some help, but it doesn’t look good. I wish that I could tell his wife that she is in danger too, but she won’t listen to me and will believe that I am just trying to stir the pot.

I am sad that my 11 year marriage with the man who fathered my children is such a pile of bad memories and that in divorce, we can’t find peace and compromise. But, abusers don’t want compromise, unless it means that they get what they want. Abusers choose to hit, threaten and so on because they want control over another person. Abusers don’t care about compromising and give and take, they are only concern about what they can get. They hit so that they can get what they want.

I have made the mistake of trying to work with my ex because I believed that any two people can work things out if they try. But the key word is “two”… and my abuser like most abusers sees only one person.

I recommend this website for more information about domestic abuse, it is really good : http://www.turningpointservices.org/domesticviolence.htm

Some days are just worse than others

Being connected to an abuser can be a very bad roller coaster ride. Sometimes life is a gentle ride, with maybe a little rocking.

Currently, I have been riding into an upsetting dip and sickening twist as my ex husband has been struggling with his abusive nature as he faces life challenges he is ill-equiped to handle.

When my ex got married again about a year ago, he entered into a lifestyle that he wants but can’t navigate and he is reverting to his old ways of control, deceit and abuse. As his current wife brings to the table expectations, desires and personal issues, my ex is floundering. Of course, I do not know the specifics and intimacies of their relationship, nor do I want to, but my ex’s behavior is very familiar and I am a familiar target.

This last week has been very difficult and my stomach is upset, I’m not sleeping and my stress level is rising as he battles with me over anything he can, money, the schedule, anything. His wife has pushed him to gain more control over me and my feeling is that she sees his lack of success as some sort of evidence that she is loosing control over her world.

But, in the last week, my ex has stood on my driveway, wound up in anger, telling me he was calling the police on me unless I handed over the kids to him that minute. He has sent me emails blaming me for ruining his stepdaughter’s college graduation. He has dismissed our 15-year-old’s final exams as “easy” and nothing to worry about and no reason why our academically ambition teen-ager should study or go to bed on time before the tests.

It is difficult to be involved with someone so unhealthy and it upsets me so much that this is my children’s father. But, as my father says. It is what it is.

So I’m praying a lot. I speak to my attorney a lot more than I can afford. And I cry on a lot of people’s shoulders.

So far, I am grateful for every avenue of release I can find, this blog being one of them. My friend just told me to stay strong, hold to my boundaries and don’t let my ex bully me anymore. I am trying, because my head knows that she is right. But I must admit, today is worse that most.