The blog received this comment the other day and I am going to reply through this post because I think there are many victims in this same position and it is hard to know what to do and it is a very real danger for many women. I often wonder when I hear of another woman murdered by her abusive partner; if she knew she was in danger and would die one day but just didn’t know how to leave or was too tired to save herself.
I know that in my case, I was sure I was going to die, I just didn’t know when or how he would do it and if he didn’t do it soon I would end up killing myself because I just could not live that way any more. It was James’s sister telling me she was afraid to be in my company because she was afraid she would die just because she was with me when he did it. I didn’t know how I was going to leave or where I would go but I knew it was crazy to stay with someone I thought capable of killing me.
This is the comment made by Angela;
“I have been married to one for 19 years and just really understood what I am dealing with. The abuse is getting more frequent. He never apologizes for the verbal abuse. He has even started saying I am abusing him. I would have already left, as I think homelessness would be better than hell. However, I have 3 children. My oldest is a scapegoat for the N, and my other 2 he seems to favor. I have tried to leave before when he said I could with the kids, then he changed his mind and used them to make me stay. My fear is a custody battle that he will lie about me. If we even got joint custody, he would still have his hooks in me and the children. If I leave the children then they will be stuck with this hell. What can I do? Should I put up with it until my youngest is old enough to understand (only4 now).
He is capable of murder. He has threatend me before. I feel I have made a total mess of my life. No matter what I do it will be bad. My children will suffer no matter what. I am so angry he has done this too me, but I am more upset I allowed it to happen and I was so blind.”
Angela, I am so glad you have reached out for help, that is a big step, just to verbalize the abuse and admit it to yourself and others. When you are in it the narcissist is so good at twisting the facts, twisting your words, and making you feel crazy; you start to doubt your own sanity and reality. They are so good at playing the good guy in front of others you fear that no one will believe you if you do tell anyone else. It gets so overwhelming that it is easier to do nothing than try to save yourself. For me I started to pray he would just kill me so I would be out of the hell I was living, I could stop wondering when and how he would do it. I did a lot of things wrong and if I had to do it again I would be a lot smarter about it.
The last line of your comment broke my heart, “I feel I have made a total mess of my life. No matter what I do it will be bad. My children will suffer no matter what. I am so angry he has done this too me, but I am more upset I allowed it to happen and I was so blind.”
Listen to me, you are far from the first woman to get sucked in by a narcissist/psychopath; women from all walks of life, from doctors, lawyers, counselors, strong independent confident women who thought they had met their soul mate. These people are evil beyond anything a normal person can imagine and they are cunning and usually highly intelligent. Nine times out of 10 the victim doesn’t even know they exist and has been abused and lost control of their lives before they realize something is seriously wrong. They keep thinking that the wonderful man they met will reappear, fear he is ill or something because the switch seems so sudden and out of character. The narcissist seems to know exactly how far he can push and just when the victim has had enough he will put on the charm again, confusing the victim. The relationship is a constant “Pull you close to push you away.”
You are a victim, you did not know what you were getting into, 19 years ago no one talked about narcissists, even domestic abuse was misunderstood (it still is); people thought a woman had to have bruises in order to be abused. Verbal abuse does more damage than physical abuse a lot of the time. I used to wish James would just hit me and get it over with because the tension would become unbearable as he grew angrier and angrier. Once he hit me it would be better for awhile. They spew their venom all over you and they feel so much better and act like they can’t understand why you are so upset.
It is a roller coaster ride in hell that never ends and only weakens the victim, makes them lose their self confidence, they twist themselves into a pretzel trying to be what the narcissist wants but nothing is ever good enough. Without knowing what is happening the victim gives up their boundaries, moral values, independence and eventually their very soul to the narcissist; he sucks his victim dry and then he discards them with disgust.
Your life is not hopeless, you have not screwed up your whole life and you CAN turn things around and find happiness and give your children the loving home they need and deserve. It won’t be easy, it won’t happen overnight but it is possible and so well worth the effort. They have sick father who will never change, they deserve a healthy happy mom and as long as you are with your husband you can not be healthy or the mother I am sure you want to be for your kids. Your children need to know that this is not how relationships are supposed to be, if you have girls do you want them to think this is the way a man treats a woman? or do you want your boys to grow up treating women this way? It doesn’t matter how many times you say it is wrong, if you stay you are saying it is ok. I don’t see that you have a choice to make. Stay and be miserable or figure out how to leave and be happy.
This is my educated advice to you from what I have learned
First and most important– download the Safety Plan at the top of the blog. There are many simple to do safety precautions you can take to stay safe. 70% of domestic homicides happen either just before or within 2 years after the victim leaves, so leaving is never as simple as when people say “Why doesn’t she just leave?”
The safety plan will tell you simple steps you can take to stay safe while you prepare to leave and then after you leave. Things like teaching the children where to go if he is hurting you, how to call for help, what to put in an emergency bag that you leave with a trusted friend or family member. Telling the neighbors to call 911 if they think you are in danger (because so many people don’t want to interfere but if you tell them to call if they hear screams for help or whatever they are more likely). There is too much to list it all here, if you can’t download it then at least read it, please.
- NOTE – The narcissists main motive is control, have no doubt that he is checking the history on the computer, snooping through your purse, especially if he thinks you are acting suspicious. He is always lying and just assumes everyone else is also. You must erase your history and cookies on the computer and your phone.
You need to find your local woman’s shelter and talk to someone about what resources are available in your area. (In the town I am in now they have a group of volunteers who will provide a safe place in their home for the woman and children leaving abuse.)
It is VERY important you do NOT tell him you are leaving, telling you it is ok for you to leave and then changing his mind is a very common tactic of the narcissist. He is using the threat of breaking up to control you, you are supposed to be so devastated at the thought of losing him that you will do anything to keep him. You have to be very covert, plan it carefully if you can and then leave quickly. You need to have all your ducks in a row if possible.
Expect the worse and hope for the best. Be prepared! Him fighting you for custody is a very realistic fear, no matter how agreeable he may be at times never expect he will be fair and reasonable. If he knows you are leaving he may try to “remain friends” “want to help you”, don’t believe him. It is very common for a narcissist to “see the light” after the victim leaves, he will apologize for everything wrong he ever did, promise to get help, cry real tears, beg like he never has; do not believe it, I he can convince you to stay or come back the abuse will be worse and you will be in greater danger than you already are.
Once you do leave you must stay as no contact as possible. Keep any communication strictly about the children, get a custody agreement written up immediately, never meet with him alone or let him in your house or go in his. Often times that is when the psychopath (that is quite possibly what he is because all psychopaths are narcissistic, it is all but impossible to know if a narcissist is a psychopath until it is too late, will murder his victim. The thing they hate the most is losing control of their victim and they will resort to murder, the ultimate control, and he does not want to look bad to the people who know him, he doesn’t want to have to share property, custody, or have to pay out any money. In his mind it would be much easier to just kill you, if he can get away with it. So make it very hard for him to get away with it.
Another VERY important thing to do is to keep a journal and hide it where he won’t find it. Write down every time he is cruel to you or the children, or the one son you say he picks on. If he send you a nasty text or writes something threatening make sure you keep it somewhere he can’t find it.
Try to slip a little bit of money aside whenever you can and build as much of an “escape fund” as you can without him getting suspicious. Again make sure he doesn’t know you have it because he will find a way of wrangling it out of you.
While getting ready to leave you have to get a support network together, I know he has probably isolated you or you are ashamed to admit you need help but now is not the time for false pride. You need help, people to help you move quickly, who will hide you or help you find a place to live. Family, friends, a shelter, a church. as long as you trust them and they are not trying to be neutral. Anyone who is friends with both of you can not be trusted to not tell him stuff. Read as much about them as possible so you know exactly what you are dealing with, Do not tell him that he is a narcissist, he doesn’t care and more than likely if he hasn’t already thought of it, he will start calling you a narcissist.
Know that he will slander you, he will tell everyone who will listen that you did to him what he did to you and he will play the victim, there is no point in trying to defend yourself. You are better off to lead an exemplary life, let him say whatever he wants, you know the truth and so will the people who love you. You just keep being true to yourself, his true colors will show through eventually. We are here for you as moral support and ears to listen.
Nineteen years is a long time yes, but 20 years is longer, there are women who were with a N for 30 or more years. It is never too late to leave and find happiness and to become the mom your kids will respect and admire. Yes, you made a mistake, we all did, that is human, don’t beat yourself up over it. Now you know the truth and you have found out you are not alone, stupid or to blame and now you can do something to better your life. But please plan your escape carefully and never under estimate how evil your husband is or what he is capable of. Just be prepared for anything.
Big hugs and prayers going out to you and your kids.
- To anyone who is thinking it is too late to leave, you have too much time invested, it is hopeless, you are not strong enough, aren’t worth it, or you think you can’t make it in the world without him. It is all lies he has told you and you tell yourself. There is always a way, God (or whatever higher power you believe in) does provide. Believe, that once you break away from his control and mind games you will see things more clearly and will feel 10 times stronger just from being away from his toxicity. You can not think clearly because he keeps you confused and always recovering from some drama or trauma. I look back now and can see how dysfunctional the relationship was but at the time, he had me so confused and always on the defensive, I didn’t know which way was up.