We all have those special relationships in which we fondly look back on and think 'what the hell was I thinking?' and 'how did I let him make me feel like that?'. These are all valid questions, and recognizing mistakes doesn't mean we can't learn from them. Embarrassment isn't a failure, it's an opportunity for growth.
If you are married to a narcissist who loves themselves so much that they no longer have space in their heart to love you or your children...
Harder said than done, I know. Narcissists are known for being utterly ruthless when it comes to protecting their reputations. The word 'narcissism' derives from the Ancient Greek myth about Narcissus - the chap who was cursed to admire himself in a reflection in a puddle, fated to never move or grow or achieve anything because he was too busy look at his own face. Vain much? To be honest, this probably sounds like half of my last relationships this year, oh well. We live and learn.
We need to be better at recognizing that we deserve better than what we sometimes get. Often, we might be investing more in ourselves and putting our time on the line for a relationship that isn't being reciprocated in the same way. But you must step away from a toxic narcissist and get the steps in motion to divorcing them and getting them out of your life. We never realize how much hell a person puts us through because we get used to it and acclimatize. But we deserve better!
Narcissists are known for making difficult emotional encounters even worse because they are incapable of compromise - it's their way or the highway. Therefore, during the emotional torment of divorce - itself, horrible enough - they are empowered because they know that they will get what they want. In these hellish situations, only the narcissist wins.
Also, we often feel guilt for thinking about stepping away from such relationships, as though we are withdrawing a service that we 'owe' another person. We don't owe people anything in this world, not inherently. Not if they're not giving us the same in return, it's just not emotionally sustainable. You end up expending and exhausting yourself and having nothing left for yourself. Therefore, we need to recognize and relearn our power to say 'no' and mean it.
Divorce them if you're unhappy! It's that simple.
The issue that separates divorcing a narcissist from just divorce in general though is the fact that normally two people getting divorced just want to keep it neat and tidy and be over as fast as possible. However, narcissists will use this to sabotage the situation, try to remain in control, lying and flipping information in testimony's and throwing things back in your face. Heaven forbid if you try to counter them with attacks of your own, however reasonable - that will be perceived as a spiteful attack on their ego, and there things spiral into toxicity. You really can't win because narcissists are so often unable to see their own double standards.
They will try to blame you even as they're draining you of all your resources just to counter them - emotional manipulation at its worst. Don't believe them. Just trust your friends and lean into their support - this is a horrible time for you, and your ex knows it. Prepare for them to be vindictive and make you question whether you even really ever loved each other to start with. That doesn't really matter though. You're doing the right thing now.
Another thing, if they didn't listen to your needs while you were in a relationship, don't expect them to communicate fairly with you after the divorce. They will spin a tale about how they triumphed in the divorce battle and absolutely ran you dry - don't rise to this. You know the truth. Their lies and chaos just manifest their insecurity. You don't need that anymore.
You aren't selfish for leaving a relationship, even if there are other parties involved.
This is important. Your life shouldn't be constantly on hold just because there are children involved, or friends, or a contentious situation. If you're unhappy, you have to start to work on that straight away. Children of divorced parents aren't unilaterally worse off than those whose parents stayed together. Wouldn't you rather your parents were happy, even if that wasn't with each other anymore? How is living in a house with constant fighting or tension preferable to a more open, communicative environment? It's not.
The other reason why divorcing a narcissist is hell is the issue of money. Most people remember that children are lovely but forget how expensive they are for a single parent, much less a single parent fighting the state in a custody battle. Often the other half won't even want the children per se. They really just want the physical victory, the boost to their self-esteem. That's just who they are, but you need to research family lawyers available to you in your price range or check if any government loans are available, and pool all the goodwill and connections that your friends have. This is important to divorce them properly and neatly - we want a clean slate. Not a messy and muddy middle ground.
Narcissists, as we know, will remain unwilling to commit or risk anything of their identity or sense of self into these battles. It's all on you to make the sacrifices and compromises, just as it was in the relationship - we've all been there. If you're divorcing a narcissist right now, you have our thoughts, pals.
Maybe you got used to how the relationship dynamic worked, being left on read, not able to make solid plans, and feeling like you're never prioritized. But that's not how relationships should be.
You should be prioritized. Simple as.
I'll say it again: you are worth more than your current relationship might have you believe.
Go and google 'Divorce lawyers' now with a mug of hot chocolate. Call it self-care.
Think about all that you have learned through pain and bruises. Give yourself a break, you deserve it.
Also, if you're reading this and thinking you might be a narcissist, you and talk to someone and sort yourself out. Narcissists are a nightmare generally, but in a divorce settlement, truly hellish.