How do I retain my relationship with my kids and balance the negative impact of my wife on them?

How do I retain my relationship with my kids and balance the negative impact of my wife on them?

Over the last year I have realised that my wife of 20+ years has NPD and that I have been a victim of her systematic abuse for as long as I can remember. Based on my online research I am clear that my only option is to leave her, however we have three children (one teenager and two under 10). I am keen to both retain my relationship with the kids and also balance the negative impact of my wife on them as they grow up. I work full time and my wife works part time a few days a week, so it is most likely if we split up the kids will remain with her on a day to day basis. My dilemma is what to say when I tell her I am leaving and want a divorce. Most of the literature and web material urges NOT to “out” a Narcissist as their wrath will be horrendous if you point out what they are. Of course getting into a “You did this and that” will end up in a circular argument of manipulation which she will always win. I am currently torn between the following two options:

1) Explain that I now realise that I am not happy and cannot be happy ever in our relationship. Attempt to not reference her behaviour and explain that it is me that has changed etc. etc. – so, effectively “take the blame”. Tell her I want to be amicable for sake of kids.

2) Explain I am leaving and I am not happy but DO point out that I now realise what she has done to me systematically over many years and I cannot take it any more. Again state I want it to be amicable for sake of kids.

Option 2 feels better to me instinctively but is this too confrontational with potential worse retribution?

My other concern is, is it safe to just walk out and leave her with the kids after dropping the message. Her behaviour is GENERALLY directed towards me but I am noticing that she uses her narcissistic techniques to a lesser extent with the kids … given how “wounded” she will be after the confrontation…are the kids at risk of retribution if I am not there to get the abuse? I am very keen to remain a key part of their lives as they grow up but the facts are its most likely that they will end up spending more time with their mum than me, and I am very aware of what a rich vein of narcissistic “supply” I have been for many years, which will create a vacuum when I am not around.

Any Advice Appreciated!

8 thoughts on “How do I retain my relationship with my kids and balance the negative impact of my wife on them?

  1. Unfortunately I’m involved with a very similar situation that lasted 13 years with an ex who is a covert narc ….if at all possible take your kids with u! If you don’t they will become the victims of the wrath of her rage….with u no longer being there she will turn everything against the children and then use them against you …. Forever!
    I’m sure in your search of information you’ve already found out there’s no help for a narc so remove yourself and your children and move on….none of its going to be ez …… Get a good lawyer and find out what you need to do to get full custody and settle for nothing else….if u don’t u will regret it….maybe not today or tomorrow but u will!

  2. After having gone through exactly this and nearing the end, i can tell you that it is not as easy you make it out to be. It is one of the most difficult experience i have ever been through. Prepare for that.

    When i decided to leave my ex-wife, the begging and pleading began. Then came the vicious behaviour and it did not persist. Thousands and thousands of dollars in legal fees, and 2.5 years later my children are finally coming home with a strong follow up care plan. Though, we aren’t quite out of the tunnel yet. We are currently sorting out details of the settlement.

    She conceded once the courts (finally) heard the children, which changed the whole circumstance (she fought against hearing the children several times, and was shockingly awarded it every time, until i proved without a doubt that the kids have had a fundamental change of circumstance outside of the obvious divorce.) She will tell lies, so keep a record of EVERYTHING!! The thing i have found about people with this mental illness is they have a facade to maintain, and they will at any and all costs, even at the cost of the children. Your “love” for each other will mean nothing. Get used to that.

    The children will not be spared by her unchecked mental health issues. Even to this day, everything revolves around her and her “happiness” that she has literally stated to my kids in arguments with them until they were crying, over and over again.

    You are doing it for your sanity, health and above all, your children’s health. Put then first and NEVER lose sight of them. As tough as it is going to get, always remember that it isnt about you, ypur needs/wants, or hers. It is about the children first. And whether you agree or disagree, she is still there mother and your children deserve a relationship with her. The high ground, here, is a true test of where your heart really is and how strong you have to be. My advice, seek a councillor before/during/after for yourself, and not just a best friend or relative or religious/spiritual guide. You need help and will need it along the way.

  3. I would definitely use a non-confrontational approach. Even though option 2 will make you feel a bit vindicated, it may get a rise out of her that will make things harder. My bigger concern for you would be that you are leaving the kids with her. Please consider seeking the advice of a therapist who is very knowledgeable on BPD before you make any decisions about the separation and about custody of the kids. My husband took advantage of me not being home one day and said things to my kids about us separating that I can never erase from their memory. At the time, they were 19, 18, and 11. I came home to find them huddled together crying. When a BPD is at their worst, they will absolutely say inappropriate things to anyone – including their own kids. And it is very possible for children to acquire BPD traits from being raised by one. My children have since become very educated on BPD and have learned to manage their relationships with their father. But I do see traits in my eldest daughter as does she. But she is aware and works hard to manage her behavior. Something her dad never did. You have to protect your children.

  4. Prepare for accepting all the blame and be very wrong in her eyes. Don’t make my mistake and “Out” her .. I did and she ran after confronted about her dirty secrets which were a total shock to me about the woman I thought I knew. Mine was a covert and they’re the most damaging. Divorce with one is a dirty business, expect no give at all from the other side and if you can get to mediation Result. There is no compromise with them and the lies will continue in court to maintain the facade .. when you know the truth and history is reinvented stand firm and believe your reality of what actually happened. Ignore the gas lighting.
    In respect of the children – depending on the age they work it out themselves. My son lasted about a year with her, and the rages and self centred behaviour caused him a lot of emotional
    Harm. He just said he didn’t know why but he just wanted to be with me. When kids start to find their own identity 12/13 the N doesn’t have the same control and doesn’t get that unconditional supply from the child, and in my situation seems quite happy to not have him except when it suits her to.

    They know what they’re doing but can’t stop it. At least you have educated yourself beforehand. Read up on codependency and your part in this re boundaries. It’s a long painful path but you get there in the end. My last GF was an Overt and I picked up on that early doors. I could have written in a sealed envelope
    What the future held with her and would have been 100% correct. Had to walk away from that when the demeaning started. Shame because she was beautiful and nice most of the time. Their reality is distorted – crazy shit. Can’t fix them so if they can’t change themselves why should you as a partner.

    Good luck – you seem to be on the ball.

  5. I am currently going through this situation and I have not seen either one of my children for almost four months as she has managed to turn them both against me (one is 7 and one is 5). She does not seem to care about our court order and I have to now wait until 1/31/18 for my court date. I left her almost 5 years ago and it has not gotten better yet, only worse. She has gotten away with child abuse and everything else, and still manages to make this kids love her. It’s not going to be easy at all for you, the best thing you have going for you is that your kids are a little older so it will be harder for her to keep them from you. Best of luck

  6. I am currently going through this situation and I have not seen either one of my children for almost four months as she has managed to turn them both against me (one is 7 and one is 5). She does not seem to care about our court order and I have to now wait until 1/31/18 for my court date. I left her almost 5 years ago and it has not gotten better yet, only worse. She has gotten away with child abuse and everything else, and still manages to make this kids love her. It’s not going to be easy at all for you, the best thing you have going for you is that your kids are a little older so it will be harder for her to keep them from you. Best of luck

  7. Everything the fighting father and Anthony are saying are ABSOLUTELY TRUE! This will no longer be your best friend and the love of your life that you had years ago. She will turn on you in a blink of an eye and will do EVERYTHING in her power to make you suffer and this includes LYING CONSTANTLY. She will even try to turn your kids against you. As Anthony recommended…….please get a REALLY GOOD lawyer FIRST, BEFORE you leave. Hear what they recommend. I had to leave my house for safety reasons and the judge gave my soon to be ex physical custody. Also, please go seek help. There are support groups for men and women. The groups can help you heal and bring more of yourself back to the light. Please seek help and I pray for your long journey. Also start a journal…..document EVERYTHING PLEASE!!!! I will promise you that it will get better once you or your wife leaves. It’s a hard and long journey, but it will be well worth it! Take one day at a time and as one of my friends from support Group says, “Just Breathe”. God bless and good luck!

  8. Dear All,

    Thankyou all for your kind words and advice.

    I think you are all to varying degrees unfortunately confirming what I Know – try and leave with the minimum amount of confrontation but it will still be a world of pain. There’s no way I can secure complete custody of the kids but the good news is that the two older ones are already standing up to her which is an encouraging sign (and funnily enough I think they may have both worked her out before me!!!)…I will tread carefully and get some expert advice before I do anything.

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