Narcissists Who Seek Revenge

In my understanding, there are several types and variations of narcissists, as well as a plethoria of comorbidity within personality disorders.  In other words – most people with strong narcissistic traits also have traits from other personality disorders.  This is why they are reconsidering whether NPD should be within the new DSM-V as it’s own stand alone disorder.  If the professionals can’t decide… I can safely say that there are reasons why I can’t grasp exactly which type of narcissist seeks revenge, or if it is in fact coupled with another trait from another disorder.  Nonetheless, narcissists want revenge in the divorce process. From my gut, it feels as though it is a form of retribution for having dismantled what they thought their life should appear to be to others.  Even if their marriage wasn’t perfect, it was still the facade that they wanted to project to the world, and therefore, when it is split apart – there’s revenge to be paid.

I find it interesting that I know several friends who have dealt with narcissists who are both disinterested in the children and who fight for them at the same time.  I believe this to be a more common trait from what I’ve consumed on the topic.

What I also think happens, and I know I witnessed this in my own life, is that they also go after other stuff that they think will hurt you.  Slowly, one by one, as you learn to not care about what they want to rip away from you – they have to up the ante and find other things that can hurt you.

One friend’s ex said at the beginning of their divorce that he would ‘take the house’ and she should ‘take their daughter’.  Children are property too, in their eyes.  It’s sad, but true – while they CAN seem to have a ‘connection’ with them – the children are really just treated as property (and unfortunately, the family courts often view them that way as well).  They even use phrases which reflect ownership, such as ” the children are in my custody“.

I have read in some forums that there’s a ton of power in acting out how you want them to take the kids for you- ‘be the babysitter, you need to step up to the plate’, ‘I have other things I need to do and you need to care for the kids’, etc.    The commonly seen reaction is that they completely back away from the kids – because  taking them from you is no longer ‘fun’.  It doesn’t cause you pain.  It even so much as triggers their oppositional tendency to do exactly the opposite of what it is that you want them to do.  You want them to take the kids…and the narcissist feels ‘well, to heck with that – I’m not going to do that because it will hurt more if I don’t‘.  Note that I used the word “feels” because I believe that the narcissist is really unaware consciously why they behave as they do.  If they thought that statement – then it would imply that they are consciously aware of their own reaction to your request.  Frankly,  I think that their level of emotional awareness is pretty low.

For me, I would love to be strong enough to play that card and tell the ex to take the kids.  One day when the kids were young and our daughter was sick, my ex came by for early morning visitation time that was scheduled.  Having been out of work already for the day prior, I told him that he should be home with her that day.  His response?  “I’m going to need more notice than that.”   Parents:  do children schedule being sick with us??  Really?  Whatever.

So think about your own journey… what did they go after for retribution first?  What places are you still connected to them?  As you untangle a marriage – each piece will fade away anyway and they will have less and less ‘points of connection’ with you … bank accounts are separated, the house is sold, debts are divided, etc.  The only connecting factor down the road IS the children.   That is the ONLY way left to get even with you for having destroyed their lives (you do realize that you destroyed their life, right?)

Of course they are going to use the children.


6 Responses to “Narcissists Who Seek Revenge”

  1. Ruby says:

    I have accidently tested the “here you take them” theory this weekend and it seems to have worked. About a month ago, I realised that fathers day (here in Australia) falls on “my” weekend. So I emailed the childrens dad to let him know and suggest that he has them for the day this sunday, but he declined (he is fighting for 50/50!!!). I think it is because firstly he perceived that I wanted him to have them and secondly because he will be able to say to people ” I didnt get to see my children on fathers day” and thirdly because he might have something else on and they are not a priority really. He also didnt call my son on his birthday or ask to see him that day at all. Meanwhile he fights for 50/50. I suspect this means the approach of forcefully trying to make them take them all the time would actually work, but I am too scared to try it!

    Sessica, I agree with Natalia, that once the new baby comes along the new girlfriend will have her hands full.
    Natalia on the point of comorbidity, I suspect aspergers is prevalent in my ex’s family. For eg. he has a 55 year old uncle who still lives with his parents and sleeps in his childhood bedroom and can recite the train timetable for the sydney line (including remarks in the log regarding fog on the tracks etc) back to 1913. He is an engineer. There are other brilliant examples from the extended family. I noticed also that your ex mentions ‘his aspergers’ in jest in his dating profile (I am not persuing him.. LOL.. I just read the profile in your blog). Initially as I tried to make sense of the train accident that my marriage was I read and read about aspergers syndrome and it almost explained everything, except the obvious pleasure he got from hurting me (particularly when I was vulnerable – e.g just given birth). The projection is also text book NPD. When I eventually talked to a psychologist (to try and work on myself and avoiding repeating this sorrow full relationship pattern), she was intrigued. She kept me in the office for 1 hour longer than I should have been there and in the end described NPD to me. Now everything I read supports this. However I wonder if there is a link to the ASD tendency of the family.
    The pathway to NPD in my ex’s case was of an overindulged child, fyi.

    Michelle

    Another

    • The Father’s day piece is great evidence for court and a case against 50/50. Good for you for gathering that even if it was accidental.
      Very interesting on the aspbergers part. I will spend some time seeing if there’s more research to that fact. For my ex’s profile – my guess is that my ex has had some time with therapists who have suggested he may have certain issues. He’s accused me of being bi-polar – and it was said as “what the hell is the matter with you, are you bipolar??” actually in front of our parent coordinator years ago. Around that time, he had recently saw a therapist who said he had chronic depression and pit him on meds, which was like trying to put a tarp over a tornado (lol). Around the time of the Aspbergers comment in his profile, he had briefly been seeing a therapist to figure out what was wrong with the GF who left him and whether he should pursue the relationship. (dude…she LEFT. There’s nothing to “pursue”). Im not sold my ex has Asbergers, although there are some similarities. Anyway… Very interesting stuff… And good to know about the indulgent upbringing of your ex. Mine was his mother’s “little prince”.

      • Ruby says:

        Natalia, I laugh and learn at your every post! My ex is this week “seeking legal advice” as to if he should contribute to my sons speech therapy (my son has a stutter and is still young enough for early intervention therapy which has been shown to have amazing results, once they get to 5 or 6 it is near impossible to overcome stuttering). The legal advice will cost around the same as I asked him to contribute. Your post the other day about your ex going to court to reduce his child support was so relevant to me. It is amazing logic to convince yourself you cant pay for your child but you can pay for a solicitor. Obviously I will just pay for the therapy regardless, and I didnt expect him to contribute, I just wanted him to have to say it out loud, or on paper. My focus at the moment is learning not to respond to long emails full of accuations (projections) and you offer great words about this on your blog. So far I have failed dismally (as recently as yesterday), but next time I am going to get it right! I love the line “puting a tarp on a tornado”. Hope you dont hear from the “little prince” today (dont you love those contact free days!)

        • Interesting that he has to seek ‘legal advice’. What does an attorney know about treatment for stuttering? If he’s going to seek any advice, wouldn’t it at least be a second opinion from another doctor on the best course of action to help your son? Oh no… of course not.
          Thanks for the vote of confidence. Tonight I failed in my own advice too and really let the ex get to me (I wrote about it to post tomorrow). Tomorrow’s a whole new day – and I will start again in thinking positive thoughts and being empowered (and you can too!!). Right now, though… I wish I had a hundred thousand million tarps, and a dinosaur to sit on my tornado ex!

  2. Sessica says:

    I just signed paperwork to divorce my ex, who was unofficially diagnosed by two therapists as having either borderline or narcissistic personality disorder.

    My ex had an affair to get revenge on me for “abandoning” him after I got cancer and had a baby – at the same time. He hid the affair from me for a long time but when I found out all the details I filed for divorce. My ex is emotionally and verbally abusive but never physically and without something major like that, my state is very pro 50/50 custody. Even though I offered to settle with him early on, in hopes that would improve our parenting relationship, he dragged our divorce out for 1 1/2 years.

    Now that he has 50/50, he has my kids spend a majority of his time with his girlfriend who is pregnant with their baby. He is beginning to abdicate parenting decisions to her. I feel that all he wanted was to make sure I couldn’t have the time with my kids. Not that he wanted the time…he just wanted to make sure I didn’t have it.

    • Hi Sessica- This is something I’ve heard repeatedly from others – it seems so much that the point of the narcissist taking the kids for visitation has to do with revenge rather than a genuine desire for a parental relationship. That’s not entirely surprising, though – since nothing narcissists, sociopaths or psychopaths do is ‘genuine’! I was just researching yesterday about this – I’ve heard the ‘no contact’ or ‘limited contact’ stuff (and have done it as much as I can for 2 years now). I also know that showing no reaction to the ex can help – because then it simply doesn’t feel like revenge to them.
      I also hear from my ex often aboutk how it’s the ‘time’ that he wants – each time he cancels, he wants makeup time (I am VERY grateful to have a primary residential situation, and feel for those of you caught in 50/50 states. Children are not property.) The thing is – these kids would be so much healthier if the narcissistic parent just walked out of their lives entirely.
      One other thought – perhaps it’s best that parenting decisions are made by GF – maybe she’ll make better ones than your ex anyway. And perhaps when the baby is born, his attention will turn more to his new family than your children, as that will be a source of supply. Certainly she won’t be all that interested in trying to care for your kids when she has her own newborn to manage?
      Hugs to you-

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