4 Things You Must Know if you are Divorcing a Narcissist

You will survive this and you can eventually become one of the strongest and most loving people you know if you follow a few guidelines.

You will survive this and you can eventually become one of the strongest and most loving people you know if you follow a few guidelines.

 

 

You can’t even believe that the person who promised to love, cherish and protect you would ever be the one who would completely devalue your needs and wants, let alone try to financially ruin you or keep your children from you once he finds a new partner.

 

I’ve coached hundreds of women through difficult divorces and have found that separating from this type of person can bring up some of the most challenging self-doubts and painful thoughts and emotions we might ever face in our lives.

 

“Am I as unlovable and unstable as they say I am? Even though I know it’s not healthy, maybe I’m making the wrong decision and should should have fought harder to make our marriage work”.

 

The self-doubts, accusations and threats can take a toll and deplete your energy, sending you to the edge, leaving you wondering how you will ever survive the deep pain that comes from the tyrant like behavior of the narcissist.

 

There are nights you curl up in a ball on the floor just wishing it could all be over because the pain in the present, and the fear for the future is so overwhelming. I call this a Divorce 9-1-1 moment.  

 

Because there is a small part of you that knows that you have the power to get through this and that  your kids need you now more than ever, you peel yourself off the floor, start putting one foot in the other, and learn how to cope with this unfathomable situation that will be the new reality.

 

When we realize that the only person we can change is ourselves, then the real work, and real reward, can begin.

 

To manage a difficult divorce, I suggest immersing in a daily (even 10 minutes a day helps) practice of yoga, meditation, self-awareness and self-love. Secure  a Therapist or Divorce Coach to stand by your side as you slowly get stronger as support you as you learn how to deal with the daily stressors, and heal from the past issues that got you into this situation in the first place.  

 

The most important principle to practice is this: accept what is, realize you cannot change the other person, and use your time and energy to heal and care for yourself instead of fighting the new reality.

 

You have most likely given away a great deal of your sanity and power to this person throughout your marriage, and now it’s time to reclaim your power and move on with your life.  

 

You will survive this and you can eventually become one of the strongest and most loving people you know if you follow a few guidelines.

 

 

1) Stop Engaging

 

Set firm boundaries and keep your emotions in check so you don’t end up wasting thousands of dollars in court (instead, save up for a great vacation with the kids...it’s a lot more fun).

 

Your Ex may threaten to “destroy” you when you start to stand up for what you and your children need to move forward. They may threaten to take your kids away from you or never give you a penny in child support or alimony.  

 

Remember this...they have a grandiose sense of self and it has nothing to do with you. They believe they can choose to act outside of legal boundaries and commitments so it’s up to you to expect this type of behavior, then protect yourself and your children from it.

 

Make sure you have an excellent attorney with experience with this type of personality disorder so that you have all of the parenting and financial agreements in line. The law is here to protect you and your children. Have faith in this process and ignore any threats they make.

 

Then going forward after the divorce, it is almost always necessary to engage the help of parenting professionals and other court appointed child advocates who understand family dynamics such as polarization and alienation. They can enforce the parenting agreements and advocate for the children’s best interests, which 100% of the time means keeping them OUT of the middle.

 

And please, take it from someone who has seen many make this mistake and learn the hard way...don't spend unnecessary time or money acting from your own hurt, trying to get back at them for their treatment of you. This serves no one, especially your children.

 

2) Take Nothing Personally

 

If you can remember this one fact, your life will start to get better immediately: the narcissist’s behavior truly has nothing to do with you, it has everything to do with them and their unhealed wounds.

 

Because of their own pain, most often from childhood, they lack empathy. They are unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others, especially yours, since you are no longer on their “team”.

 

They do not consider, or care about, the pain they inflict on others. I’m sure you have seen this pattern in other relationships in their lives while you were married. Now that you are the ex, you are no longer exempt from their unhealed pain. Do not expect them to listen, validate, understand or support you.

 

Use every bit of energy that you spend trying to change them, trying to get them to care about you again, on yourself instead.  Self-care and self-love is the key. Running off to a new relationship almost never works. Drowning your sorrows in glasses of wine is a temporary fix.   Take the time to heal yourself, to learn new patterns of setting healthy boundaries, and to rebuild your sense of inherent worthiness. Over time you will be ready to attract a much healthier partner when you are ready.  

 

3) Never put the children in the middle, though your Ex likely will

The truth is, a narcissist will stop at nothing to try to destroy you, even if it means involving, and emotionally harming the kids. In their fantasy world, they will go to any and all lengths to promote the illusion that their beliefs are right and good, and yours are bad and wrong and you deserve to be punished.

He may  fabricate lies and manipulate the children, sowing seeds of doubt in them and in you, hoping to make everyone question their own memory, perception, and sanity.

Detachment, acceptance, self-care with strong boundaries are the only way to get through, and eventually rebuild your life after this type of divorce. Even if you feel like nothing is changing and you wake up in the same hell you were in the day before with your narcissistic ex, every little baby step toward self healing by not reacting will help. Further down the road, you will be amazed at how strong you have become for yourself and your children.

 

Some of the greatest gifts come from the most difficult situations, especially those that send us to our knees. Please download my free ebook “No Mud, No Lotus~Tools for Tough Transitions” at: ebook.kathrynmitchem.com for tools to help through difficult divorces.

 

4) And remember, you are not alone. Read about others in your situation and how they have coped. Learn the tools you need for for self-care and by all means, ask for, and take steps toward getting the support you need.

 

Kathryn Mitchem is a Transitions Expert, Writer, and Divorce Coach who draws on her years of experience and a meditation and yoga instructor in her Transitions Coaching programs. She is the creator of “The Worry Detox” and “Divorce 9-1-1”. Kathryn is a momtrepreneur blissfully living in Evergreen, Colorado with her three biggest teachers, ages 13, 12 and 9. If you need support through a tough transitions, you can reach Kathryn at her website [https://www.kathrynmitchem.com] for a FREE 30-minute Discovery Call.


 

Contemplating Divorce? Do These 5 Things First.

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How will I know if it’s time to move on from my marriage, or any significant relationship?

 

 

 

The conventional wisdom is when one or both people have stopped trying. But how do you know if you are the one who is done trying?    

 

 

1) Do a self check-in. If we are questioning our relationship and whether we should stay or we should go, chances are that the a big part of the struggle we are having with the other person’s behaviors and beliefs are actually a mirror of our own inner conflict.

 

 

Before making any decisions or moving too quickly into divorce proceedings, we need to pause and do the inner work necessary to know ourselves; our pain, our core wounds and beliefs, and our own lack of self-love. Whether or not we decide to move on, this self-awareness will serve us in this, or any other relationship that comes after.

 

 

Take time to understand past conditioning and why you chose the partner you did. What are the family dynamics and core beliefs about your lovability that were passed down from your family? What are the “shoulds” you have about being a good partner? What behavior is your spouse reflecting that a seasoned Therapist or Coach can support you in finding the answers inside of you, helping you get clear about what you are bringing to the table in your marriage.

 

 

And most importantly, learn tools to support yourself and get to the heart of what you truly want. Practices like yoga, meditation, journaling and self-reflection can help you get to the heart of the matter. Take at least 10 minutes each day to get quiet. By applying these tools, soon you will be able to see through the clouds of fear and old conditioning, and know which actions to take next.

 

 

2) Slow down and take good look at the relationship. Once you begin to understand your part in the conflict, how does that contribute to  the dynamics of the relationship? Are there negotiable patterns that can be reprogrammed through processes like couples therapy or relationship training? In other words, are the dynamics open to change or growth or are one or both of you creating blocks that are standing in the way?

 

 

I recently listened to an Oprah interview with Glennon Doyle Melton the other day that pretty much summed it up.  She said “If you have to choose between saving your marriage or saving your soul, choose your soul”.

 

 

Figure out if and how the relationship can be restructured to serve your highest desires and intentions for fulfillment and happiness. If there’s a will, there’s often a way. But if love has truly left the table, and there are non-negotiable blocks, it may be time to take the next step into the divorce process.

 

 

3) Get the facts and know what to expect. It’s vital to have an understanding about what the divorce will mean for you not only emotionally but logistically. As you navigate the stormy waters of the emotions and fears that arise once you know the end is inevitable, it’s crucial to understand your legal rights and how you will start over as a single person.

 

 

I always encourage people to consult with an expert, most often an attorney (make sure to choose one who is realistic and impartial...not one who is ready to wage war against your spouse and rack up their hourly charges), who will clearly outline the state laws about how property and finances will be split, what parenting schedules might look like, and how long the actual process might take. Having this information will give you an idea of what the next steps are, and keep a worry and “what ifs?” at bay.

 

 

Ask important questions like: Can and will we continue to live in the same home going through the process? Is my spouse open to working amicably through mediation or will I need to secure an attorney to protect my rights? What is the best situation for the children and how can we support them through their own grieving process?

 

 

So much fear can creep into this process, causing us to doubt ourselves and our decisions and create unnecessary worry about the future and the well-being of the kids. When we can arm ourselves with information and facts about divorce laws in our state, acknowledge that millions of women and children have been through this and not only survived but thrived after divorce, we can have more clarity confidence in our decisions.

 

 

 

4) Prepare for the journey ahead. Pulling apart emotionally from your spouse can be one of the most difficult parts of dissolving the relationship.  

 

 

 

For years, maybe decades, they have been your emotional “rock”...the one person that you share all of your hopes and dreams and fears with. Suddenly, this role is shifting. One of the biggest mistakes we can make is to go to our partner for emotional support. This is the time where this role, and your role of parents making joint decisions, can and will change dramatically….the difficult truth is that they are no longer your “person”.

 

 

The divorce process can be a rocky road, with lots of ups and downs, twists and turns, many can feel difficult and heartbreaking as you start to restructure all of the systems that you created as a couple. Now’s the time to emotionally prepare for the next 1 ½- 5 years, which is the typical timeframe to “get over” a divorce.

 

 

Call on your team of experts and non judgemental friends and family. Tell them what you need during this time. Seek outlets for your emotional energy to move, rather than to get stuck in the pain. Read books about divorce, get online and read blogs and articles and realize that you are not alone. Cry when you need to. Rest a lot. Learn to become your own best friend and biggest cheerleader. Eventually, you will find less and less loneliness as you become the “person” that you can turn to in the difficult times.

 

 

5) Begin to create your vision for your future. Train your mind to dwell in the space of what is possible, rather than what will no longer be. What is it that you want as a single person going forward in your life? What hobbies, activities, travels have you always wanted to do? What is your vision for your new home and your new life with your children? What qualities would you like to have in a partnership when it’s time to put yourself out there again? Most importantly, who do you want to BE now that you are committed to moving on from your marriage?

 

 

Re-discover, or discover for the first time, your passions and your purpose. Each day, commit to taking one step towards your vision. It is impossible to feel stuck while you are moving forward. Some days it may be baby steps, other days, huge leaps. Work with the end in mind, and please, believe in yourself. Even though divorce may be the outcome of this relationship, it is not the end of our lives, but a beginning of the next chapter.

 


 

 

 

A LITTLE KNOWN TOOL FOR FEELING BETTER RIGHT AWAY WHEN THINGS SUCK

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Becoming the Source

(This is a brief overview of the video I filmed this week that can be accessed along with lots of other helpful mind/body tools for tough transitions on our Facebook Group "No Mud, No Lotus~Tools for Tough Transitions ).

 

When a spouse leaves, the kids are rude or snarky, the dream job falls away, or our bodies fail us, it can seem like the source of our wellbeing starts to dry up, and we can feel alone and defeated.

 

I get it...I’ve been there.  When my marriage fell apart a few years ago, I was faced with being alone and a single mom at 40.  I never thought I would make it through the pain of loss let alone be able to face the fears of starting over.  But I did and you will too.

You see, moment to moment, we have a choice.  To stay the victims of another's behaviors or other unwanted circumstances, or to muster up the power to rise.  

But we must practice.  Every day.  Especially when we are feeling fear. 

When we can commit to practices and a lifestyle of training ourselves to turn  inward for the support and love that we crave from our outer situations, our lives will dramatically change.

What happens when we stop waiting for our circumstances to change to feel better?   Drumroll please!!!

We realize that WE are the ones we’ve been waiting for!
 

Here’s a tool that you can use anytime anywhere to feel better.

1) Relax the tensions in the body:

  • Feel your sitting bones or feet where they are touching the ground.
  • Scan the body for tightness. Relax the belly, the shoulders, the jaw and the forehead. Soften everywhere there is tightness.

 2)  Become aware of the breath

  • Allow the breath to show up exactly as it is...no need to change or manipulate it

  • Notice where you feel the breath the most in your body

  • Rest your awareness here

  3)  Bring yourself deeper into the moment

  • Notice 3 sounds around you...near or far

  • Consciously notice 3 things you can see

  • Smell the moment.  Swallow and release the throat.

 

  4)   Ask yourself “What is it that I want to hear from the people in my life that would make me happier right now”

This could be from your coworkers, your partner, your children, your clients, your doctor, even your  Ex.  It may be appreciation (“thank you so much for everything you do for me!”), affirmation (“you are doing such a good job!  I am in awe of your gifts”), are simply attention to something amazing about you (“You are one of the most beautiful and kind people I know!”).

Place your hand to your heart.  Repeat this phrase.  Soak it in.  Feel the love, appreciation, affirmation for yourself.

If you don’t have time for the whole practice, you can practice step 4, anywhere, anytime, all the time.

You deserve to be happy, free and loved.  Please start today <3.

 

 


 

 

 

 

Steps to Allow the Pain of Divorce and other Midlife Messes to Empower You (Rather than Destroy You)

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The Buddha said “Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional”.  When we are going through the painful emotions of divorce and other midlife messes, it seems almost impossible to believe that this is true.  It can feel like our only option is to suffer the fear, anger, guilt, depression, sadness, and even rage that come along with the loss of our old life.

Release the energy through movement. I’ve found that walking, running and even stomping are great ways to get out of feeling trapped in pain.  Dancing, singing at the top of our lungs to loud music helps too.  Painful emotions are indicators of energy that needs to move through us, so that we can get the message to move on.  The first step is releasing the buildup of pain in the body.  Sometimes I would, and still do, go to a Yoga class to breathe deeply and let the sensations move through my body in the postures.  Crying at the end of a Yoga class, being solitary out in the woods, or even watching sad movies to get the tears flowing is a great way to release the pain.  

Tell a new story.  After a while, our story of what has happened to us gets a little old.  Have you noticed friends and family politely, or maybe abruptly, beginning to check out of the listening process?  It’s inevitable that over time, even we get a little sick and tired of our our negative take on things.  This is when we know it’s time to rewrite the story.  

The first commitment you might make is to getting through a morning without talking about your pain.  That may turn into 8 hours, then a day at a time.  Just like a muscle, we have to retrain the brain to focus on what we want rather than what we don’t want.

Taking deep, mindful breaths to become present throughout the day will also help break the pain and suffering and old story cycle.  It’s impossible to breathe deeply and be in the stress/suffering response at the same time (download my free ebook “No Mud, No Lotus~Tools for Transitions” for more on this process).

Once we stop the habit of suffering, we can begin to tell a new story.  When people ask us how we are doing, we can say things like “It’s been tough, but I’m getting stronger every day” or “I am learning so much about myself these days” and “I’m good. I’m grateful for _____(fill in the blank with something that IS working in your life, something however small that brings you a sense of joy and fulfillment)”.

Use the pain to get creative.  When released, anger and other forms of emotional pain can be a great source of creative energy.  You may feel inspired to write or paint or create a new business from the energy that once caused you to suffer.  This is a wonderful opportunity to envision a new beginning (new career, healthy body,  a fulfilling career or relationship) then use that creative energy to follow through on taking the steps to move forward.  If you are dwelling in the past, the painful emotions will continue.  The more we put our focus on what we DO want, rather than what we DON’T want, the sooner the pain will subside. Let the pain motivate you to take steps forward, and into a richer, more fulfilling and love-filled future in all areas. Because you deserve it!

Have faith in the process that this experience IS making you stronger.  You can choose to be a victim to circumstance and stay stuck in the suffering, or use this experience of pain to grow and to launch you into your new life. Kahlil Gibran, the author of a classic spiritual book called “The Prophet” wrote “The deeper the sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?” When we can accept that the deeper our pain, not only the capacity for our own future joy is greater, but our sense of compassion for the suffering of others is greater. Our children, our friends, our planet all become gifted by our own inner journey from suffering to freedom.

Over time, the pain from divorce and other midlife messes will, and does, lessen.  Time does heal, and the sooner we commit to take steps to stop choosing to suffer, the faster it will happen. If we can use this time for growing into the next phase rather than staying stuck in the pain of the past, we become the superheroes of our own lives, launching at rocket speed into a brighter, new reality.