I am a mom with two small children. My ex has the traits of someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, at a pathological level. It has taken my life savings, all my credit lines and every fiber of my strength to get divorced from him. He was emotionally, mentally and physically abusive. During the 3 years it took to get the divorce, he sued me for custody. Despite testifying to the domestic abuse in our relationship, and professionals asserting that we could not co-parent, my ex won everything he asked for that day. Thankfully, that means we have joint legal custody and he has alternate weekend, holiday and summer vacation time.
It is important to me to find peace with this experience in my life, accept it as my life challenge and find all positive things that could come from it. As a result, I am in the midst of creating this website, as I want to connect with others in the same situation. As much as I can, I would like to pass along a positive attitude and perspective to others who may be in the same situation. My spirituality and faith have been significantly strengthened through all this, and my faith continues to be what gets me through it every second.
Truly, it is unfortunate that there are many of us who have to co-parent with someone who is challenged with a personality disorder (borderline, antisocial, narcissist, etc). I would like to understand the impact on my children from spending time with a pathological parent and how I can mitigate this. I am searching for research which has been done to understand this aspect of personality disorders. While I do fundamentally believe that a child of divorce should have access to both parents, I question the amount and level of exposure if a parent has a personality disorder, and believe that the answer to that varies greatly based on the type of PD and the severity of it. Too often, our court system in the US is focused on ‘sharing’ the children, and not enough focus is put on evaluating how or why the parents wound up in court – and what types of issues they may have.
In the meantime, I will continue to look for the positive aspects within this situation, and strive to make things better for others – through continuing to learn as much as I can about the impact on our children, about the court system that put us in this situation and how to improve it, and how to mitigate the risks of being in this situation as best as humanly possible.
More information about my experiences can be found in the blog postings - leaving an abusive relationship, the court experience that put us in this situation, healing from the abusive relationship, gaining strength in being assertive, and learning to live within the bounds of our court order. Please comment, share your own experiences, thoughts and perspectives. We have much to learn from each other!
Please note – I am using an alias name for me and my children’s protection. My name is unique, and the things that I am sharing are deeply personal. I think it is an important experience to share for others’ sake, however. This is why the names of my children are not here at all and they are referred to as ‘my son’ or ‘my daughter’. It would be very damaging to them for their entire school to find out what they endure and I respect their privacy.
I have struggled with the aspect of admitting what the relationship truly was like to those that know both me and my ex. Over time, I’ve eluded to the physical and emotional abuse to close friends (note – my ex has been repeatedly fired from jobs for combative behavior, so he shines his own light in many ways). In some ways, I have chosen to still respect him as an individual, and respect that the personality disorders that he deals with are his challenges in life. There has to be some good in him, somewhere – even if it’s goodness in an ignorant way. On the flip side, I also grapple with the threats from him about our lives being a “private matter”, and also how he has told me multiple times that he thinks he is the kind of guy that would one day lose it and shoot down a McDonald’s. This is not the type of individual where I want to take unnecessary risks.
The pen name I have chosen has meaning to me. Natalia – refers to the Nativity, or birth of Jesus. Jesus is always there to support us, and I feel that love daily. Mary is a strong mother who blindly followed God in faith to do whatever it was that he asked of her, including giving birth to the son of God. Tessa is simply a name of someone dear to me.