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!