Divorcing a narcissist or sociopath

We know from experience that narcissistic sociopaths feel most powerful when they are in control of us.

And many of us think the solution to beating them is to try controlling them in return.

But we can’t beat them by using the same control tactics they use. Why? Because as good people with the ability to empathize, our consciences will not allow us to follow through with our attempts at control.

When we try to fight them by controlling them in any way, we crack due to the anxiety we experience trying to be evil and controlling.

It’s not in us to be controlling assholes. It just isn’t!

When we seek to treat the sociopaths as they treat us, we’re acting outside of our spiritual core. Acting outside of our spiritual core only hurts us, not the sociopaths.

Trying to be abusive and controlling is why some of us crack and feel crazy. We feel crazy because we aren’t acting as our conscience dictates. When we feel crazy, others perceive our actions as crazy, too.

The sociopath can pretend and act like the rest of us with great success and believability because they lack a spiritual core. When there is no spiritual core to harm and confuse, the sociopath is a prime example of an empty existence unaffected by anything from the outside and especially from the inside.

Healthy, non-pathological folks can’t act or pretend to be heartless and revengeful. Our consciences just won’t allow it. (Feel good about that quality within you even if it seems to put you at a disadvantage when dealing with the sociopath.)

So how do we defeat the narcissistic sociopath?

It’s simple. We let them THINK they have won. We let them THINK they are still in control even after the relationship ends.

Offer the sociopath half the car or half the house in the divorce settlement. Don’t fight for it all no matter how much you know or think you deserve it. Act reasonable and fair. Not revengeful and vindictive. The courts will see you as reasonable and fair, too, not crazy.

Consider opening your marital home to renters. When it comes time to equally divide assets, the sociopath won’t be interested in being bothered with the process. There is work involved in divisions. There is also the annoying responsibility of collecting rent, making repairs, finding tenants and making mortgage payments. They hate making payments. They may end up leaving you with the mortgage because a mortgage is a burden to them and they wish to burden you. But they fail to realize you want them to sign a quit claim deed so you can turn around in a few months and sell the place for a profit.

Don’t ask for full legal and physical custody of your children, either, no matter how much you fear the sociopath’s influence. Ask for a 50/50 split. Again, appear reasonable and fair.

The sociopath will never be able to maintain a 50/50 split due to the time and responsibility associated with making more exchanges on a more frequent basis. They want full custody only because they know it will be most convenient for them, not because it will be better or more stable for the children. A 50/50 agreement will most likely result in them relinquishing time spent with their kids. They’ll think you will be burdened by having more time with your kids because it’s a burden to them. They may even think having your kids more will interfere with your ability to date. (As if dating is the first thing you want to do after being involved with a sociopath!!)

Sociopaths hate responsibility. So, the more they perceive you as being burdened with responsibilities, the more victorious they feel.

They are the winningest losers on the planet!

By giving them what they think they want, we appease them. By convincing them their choices burden us, we appease their need to control us. We did it inside the relationship; we can do it outside the relationship, too.

I know these scenarios won’t work for every situation but it gives you an idea of how you can rethink your situation and your need to fight in hopes of taking it all from them in the beginning of the end of the relationship/marriage.

The sociopath eventually loses everything thinking it was 100% his idea and choice. Some call it karma. I call it purpose-driven patience on our part which requires zero compromise of our core values. It just requires a lot of sacrifices for a bit longer than we’d hoped.

Namaste!

(Image source: Divorced Women Online)

Category:
abuse, Cluster B disorders, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Family, Health, Lessons, Mental Health, mindfulness, Narcissist, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, NPD, Peace, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychopaths, PTSD, Relationships, Self Improvement, Sociopaths, Spirituality
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Join the conversation! 39 Comments

  1. My X is a very successful guy heading up a private equity firm. Despite of all the wrong he does in his personal and professional life, he manages to con people into believing that he is the best that could have happened to them. People seemed to be in his ‘spell’.
    I am out! And despite of 25 years of extremely painful relationship, I have recovered and I am on the path of fulfilling my dreams. that is because from my inside, there was a force that pushed me out into a better life and therefore I find the right help and healing. Every cell in my body is full of gratitude for the Almighty God.
    I have two teenage sons. I am working on making them see their reality without negatively affecting them. It is tough. But I believe, despite this man’s efforts to wreck the children psychologically through his deception and manipulation, we three will be okay.
    My question to you Paula is, how does it normally end for these people? They are socially destructive in the most insidious way, like serial killers. What becomes of them?
    Regards
    Linda

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    • Hi, Linda,

      I’m in the camp that believes these people are immune to karma, because one needs a conscience for karma to catch up to them. However, I do believe their behavior eventually does catch up to them if and only if the people they’ve victimized expose them. It’s looked upon as a distasteful act to talk about another person, but talking about abusers, rapists, con artists and murderers should be expected and valued. No more sweeping this behavior under the rug hoping they just go away. Sure, they go away, but only to harm and destroy others. Bill Cosby is a great example of why we can’t remain silent about what these people do. 🙂

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  2. my situation has been going on for 20+ years. I had no idea that he was a N until recently, I divorced him 8 years ago but continued to be pulled back in with the continued lies. I moved on about 2 years ago entered into relationship with someone, the N was horrible to me the entire time ignored me, wouldn’t pay support undermined all of my boundaries I had set for my child. The N never follows the parenting plan and hasn’t in 5+ years, he is the disneyland dad. He recently after me ending my relationship had come back around telling me how mach he had changed showing support being a great parent even co parenting, spending time with me having lunch helping out. then came the back hand I found out he was seeing someone behind my back I was right back where i was 8 years ago devastated. the OW contacted me wanted to know what was going on once again he completely lied about everything and me, she said she wrote him off but I think he has won her back, he has and is continuing to do all he can to make me look crazy to everyone. he has gone back to not paying his support, completely ignoring me except for the occasional text message threat, he comes and goes from my house with my son (who is 15) as he wants picking him up dropping him off all day long makes plans with him with out consulting me. I feel like I am in a constant state of anxiety, trying to figure out his next move so that I am prepared. I have never hated someone so much from my very core but at the same time wanted them to just love me and acknowledge the hurt that they have inflicted on me for so many years. My children don’t see it they love their father. while i pick up the pieces everyday take responsibility for them and their everyday life. he takes them to the gym and spends an hour with them a few times a week. I feel so let down, cheated, angry and an emotional wreck I have had NC for a few weeks other than the occasional Text to inform him he is behind in support I have not commented to any of his Text and I avoid him every time he has come to the house. I don’t know what to do I want to just climb in a whole and never come out!!

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    • I’m sorry, Wendee. I know and understand you feel and what you are going through. Do you have anyone in your life that you can personally confide in and trust? Finding someone who will listen and understand and believe that you are not crazy is very important and validating. Our children are often our biggest motivators in these situations. Knowing they need and deserve for us to be healthy and available is something we must remember everyday when the hate and anger surfaces. Have you considered finding a counselor who specializes in abuse, trauma and PTSD and who has experience with it as it occurs within initmate partner relationships?

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    • I have been considering counseling yes, I have some great friends but most after 8 years think it is crazy that I keep falling for it and tell me to just let it go…I just feel at such a loss even though logically I know that it is not me it is him, I feel such a need to know what he is doing so that I can stay one step ahead and prepare for his next insult it is exhausting but I feel if I let my guard down then I have been defeated.. I try to set boundaries I am accused of hurting my children, and the rumors to people these are people that I have to deal with in my childs school he doesn’t he is not involved its so humiliating I try to hold my head high but I’m just dying inside!!

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    • You bring up a very important aspect to our healing: our need to release our ego and not allow our existence to be about winning or losing or defeating this person. When we play their game of trying to guess their next move, we remain in their control and they WILL win every single time. However, if you allow yourself to focus on your next move and your next project and your next interest, worrying about what he is doing becomes less and less relevant, and he even will begin to see that his actions no longer illicit the reactin he desires and he stops engaging you and trying to “get a rise” out of you. For sociopaths, life is a sick and twisted game of winning and beating others by forcing them to react and react some more and react some more. Take the non-competitive and compassionate approach and release yourself from that control and start putting your next move toward a better life at the forefront of your mind. He certainly puts his needs before yours and your children. But who cares? Let him THINK he’s won. He fails to see that you made the choice to exit the game which is the greatest gift you can offer yourself and your children.

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    • Thank you, this is great advise ad I am taking it to heart I know that I have a long struggle in front of me and need to keep my strength to focus on my well being.. I just hope that when he decides to circle back around again that I can continue to hold on to the strength and show him that I have no concern for him or his well being.

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    • You’re welcome. You can do it. You can. You matter and your children matter. 🙂

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  3. Here is an example of what a Sociopath can do, in this case the lawyer Jeffrey Wilens, his Class action lawsuit execution is just like a Serial killer’s Sociopath behavior. Jeffrey Wilens is so obsessed and has no conscious of the pain he is inflicting, he never knows when is enough and can never stop. These cases are completely driven by his own Sociopath hard-nosed self-interest and greed, and not the interest of the “victims” in his class action suits. Read more http://jeffreywilens.com/

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    • Wow. Checking out the site now…

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    • The above post should be removed. The author of the post and website is a criminal operating an illegal business in the State of California. He does not like being sued. However, he has no legal defense so he launched an anonymous Internet smear campaign against the lawyer suing him. So who is the sociopath.

      “Paula” below could be a real person or just an alter ego of the “victims” guy.

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  4. I am being triangulated, perhaps my term, by the new wife…I was in a narcissistic relationship for nearly 15 years. I was the person his mother could rely on. therefore I was a good source of supply as well as a nurse maid to all concerned. I am a nurse, just what he needed,as his mother aged. I did my part and loved her as well. I now believe that she had never been loved. While i cared for her he was watching her dollars and making sure all would be in his pocket in time. After her death, while I was out of town the narcissist found a new source setting next to him at a church function. She went home with him and stayed. When I returned I went to his house to find a stranger in the nude. The following Sunday they drove out of town to get married. The pain of this betrayal is difficult to verbalize!! …The narcissist had left many personal items in my home and made no attempt to retrieve them. I decided that the items were left behind to have a purpose in contacting me again if his new life was low in narcissistic supply. I called his wife, told her she needed to come and pick up his things alone and today. She arrived within the hour, the items were in the garage. I assisted her putting the items in the car. Next she asked to come in to talk with me. I was again idealized, this time by HIS wife…WTH They were married two years ago today, she continues to find me (stalk)…I know that she has Borderline Personality Disorder and is also narcissistic.. The War of the Roses has begun. She was at my door again last Sunday to tell me how she is being abused, tears were shed. I told her she is not a victim but a volunteer and will continue to be one until she decides, or he decides to detach. These are my last words with her, I am detaching from her. I see him now and then, he pretends to not notice me. I believe he is frightened of her, this keeps me safe…Thank you GOD!

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    • So the new wife he left you for I’d reaching out to you for help? Or is she trying to use you for something else? It’s common for victims of the same abuser to get together and compare notes. It’s actually something I recommend. It helps with validation and reinforces a lot of crap that you is hard to articulate in words to those who have never experienced what it’s like to be emotionally brainwashed and abused. 🙂

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  5. I had to stop fighting because of the damage to the kids and the counselors had no idea how to handle the situation…while the court just insist in the order that we should be parents and support each other’s relationship with them. We do have 50/50 joint custody even after his accusations of me being abusive to him and the children, following through with his promise to make sure I didn’t see ‘his’ children if I went through with the divorce. He has alienated them to the point they do not stay with me. I do continue to see them, if only for a few moments a week. He is required to bring them to me every Wednesday (for about 1 hour during the school year before I take them to church) and every other Friday (to stay the weekend). He does bring them to me for them to stay on Wednesdays (@ 30 minutes because he stops for snacks) and my daughter did reveal to me that her dad allows that much time. But they don’t want to stay on the weekends so he won’t make them stay then. This has continued for about 4 years off and on.

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    • If it’s court ordered, HE has no say, right? I’d tell him you’re going to start abiding by the parenting plan and get those kids back and talk to them! Fight for them. It’ll be worth it. See my blog : http://torn-whybatteredwomenstay.com or One Mom’s Battle. Both have resources that can help! Best of luck!!

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  6. i have decided to let go … after 7 months arduously fighting a custody battle for my son and him still not paying and wanting total control I have decided to offer him custody. See how he gets on. He was always telling me how much of a bad mother I am, was never good enough. Well maybe this will be his karma now, its the only way I can get on with my life , stop being controlled as much and letting him have responsibility.

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    • Thank you, anonymous. These fools end up being their own worst enemy. In their quest to prove that WE are horrible parents and people, they end up proving that everything that spews from their mouths is projection. I know this decision wasn’t an easy one for you or even one that feels right. I can only imagine your frustration and feeling of being backed into a corner. Here’s to hoping he proves his lack of stability and responsibility sooner rather than later so your child can be with you as much as possible! 🙂

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    • I am sorry, I truly feel your heartbreak. I tried to protect my children for over 7 years. I’ve just recently finally given up, when the kids lied in mediation, to be with “Dad of the Year”. I wish I listened to my own father in 07 when he told me not to fight, (he would help me start over), but I felt if I did I was “a bad mother”. Bless my Dad for being supportive in my decision, even when I was not hearing his advice when he had my best interest at heart. When one party is out to destroy the other at all costs. I don’t care to destroy, control, manipulate, lie to, or strike fear into anyone. I want happiness, peace and love. I didn’t see the bigger picture sooner, I am grateful I see it now, before I wasted any more of my life in misery, it truly is freeing.

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    • I feel for us parents. My ex resurfaced to put on the big father of the year show and is fighting for joint custody & over nite access (I have legal sole custody & of course his involvement has been extremely minimal if not absent). It’s true. The only way to show they are unfit and aren’t genuine in their fight for custody & access is to give them more responsibility. In fact, during court last month, I thought ‘be careful for what you wish for you asshole’. Past behavior of their involvement with their child is a pretty good future indicator.

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  7. WARNING; one point here is dangerously wrong. Not all sociopaths hate responsibility. Ok they ultimately do, but if it gives them greater control then they’ll embrace it wholeheartedly. Just look at cult leaders, Manson for example. I’ve read several psychologist articles which recommend the opposite of being fair and even-handed. True sociopaths prey on the decent, the fair and the kind. They say that only by offering a brick wall can you defeat them. They look for any emotional weakness or gentleness. The adage ‘Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile’ is true. However give them nothing to feed on and they’ll go in search of easier prey.

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    • This is VERY true of my divorce. A non involved father for years while I raised my boys who has now become “father of the Year” since the day we left. He has stopped at no cost paying everyone in the “system” to gain half custody and going for full. Yes he works a FT job but that won’t stop him. I have been a stay at home mother for all of my boys lives. The last place to be is in court having strangers decide your children’s future. He LOVES the limelight and I have given into everything and still continue to “swallow” all his controlling demands. His latest after asking for half custody is to negotiate custody visits with what he owes me. Child support and alimony! It has been 3 years. This type of person can destroy anyone mentally, emotionally and financially. Strength is what is needed.

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    • I am truly sorry you are going through this, G. Strength truly is the only thing that can helps us get through such blatant attempts and displays at destroying us just because they think they’re entitled to control whatever they wish to control.

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  8. Paula, what advice did you give to Susan West please? It could have been me posting that exact statement. I need help to start my life again but I don’t have the confidence and strength I need. Please help. Claire

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    • Claire,
      Those feelings of wanting and needing and feeling like you can’t go on are normal. Your relationship with your pathological ex was like a drug and now you’re detoxing from that drug. Your mind thinks you need him because it was so incredibly amazing in the beginning. But your mind is only focused on the initial high the relationship gave you during the honeymoon/love-bombing phase. It’s like a heroin addict who keeps searching for that first euphoric high. It never comes but he keeps shooting up. That’s what you did in your relationship. Even after the abuse and devalue stage began, you held out hope that the idolization would return, that you would feel the pleasure of being considered his soul mate and the one he had waited for his entire life to love. Your mind has normalized the chaos and your emotions and self-worth are in a chaotic mess. But have no fear! If you honestly want to start living and feeling again and be free from these feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, you can be. But you must start doing things that make YOU happy. Step outside of your normal routine. meet new people. Experience new places. Distance yourself from the life you lived with your ex. Surround yourself with people who truly care about you and your well-being. Start reading books you were never able to get around to reading while with your ex. Call up old friends. Write down some goals. If you look in the direction you wish to go, you will get there! XOXO

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  9. What an interesting topic! I was in a long-term relationship with someone who was extremely narcissistic and I find myself often wondering why I let it go on for so long when I knew at the start that it wasn’t going to work out. It’s fascinating to look into what leads us to these relationships. I recently read a very interesting blog that discussed both sides of the narcissistic relationship, why people are narcissistic and why people choose narcissistic partners, http://www.psychalive.org/2013/04/narcissistic-relationships/. I highly recommend it!

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    • Thank you, Emma, for sharing the link! I appreciate it. Just one thing–I don’t think any of us would choose a narcissist if we knew they were narcissists from the beginning. We choose people we think are like us and who we think will help us grow and learn as they grow and learn. The narcissist is good at acting like anyone and everyone they covet. They are predators, and anyone can be conned by their game, a game the narcissist rarely is aware that he’s playing. It’s just the way life is, to them. 🙂

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  10. Hi Paula again. After the narcissistic sociopath has gone life doesn’t get any better. I hear him, I see him, all in my head. I also long for him every day like a drug. I’ve never found anything so hard in my life. I can’t see a future as crippled up as I am. I don’t want to go out. I haven’t worked for 20 years, can’t do it now. I hate myself so what to do eh? Sue

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    • Can I e-mail you, Sue, using the e-mail you entered for this comment?

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    • Sue, I am where you are… Divorced for 7 years and was still giving him sex up until two weeks ago. I am still numb, I need help,., so bad, I have had many thoughts of hanging myself because I don’t know what to do to get my life and confidence back

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  11. Wow… That’s a thought. It makes me feel ill thinking of leading him to believe he “won,” but I your description of what will happen next is dead on. I really have to ponder this some more.

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  12. You must’ve had an ear in on my life yesterday. OMG! Thank you for posting exactly what I needed to read/learn! I tried to get the kids back from my N-ex-husband yesterday as it was “my” weekend. He has to be in control of how and when they return to me. It’s always been that way! over 3 yrs. But yesterday, I had ENOUGH of this controlling. I hate not being able to have any power in this scenario when it happens… I sent him a heated email about this, all while hanging over our heads is the fact that I’ve been trying to get him to reimburse me for half of the expenses that I’ve spent for the 4 kids’ activities, school, etc. I’ve had to DEFEND nearly every expense from Aug to current. My email to him was about his lack of responsibility (doesn’t matter how old, 49) – & it isn’t getting any better… Now that you’ve brought that into light – I can give up on that entirely. I’ll take my Spirtual Core intact! He can have his hollow, empty heart.

    Thank you so much for your support – it means the world to me! Not many friends, OK, NONE, in my circles can really understand this ‘disease’ that he has that also affects the kids and me.

    Thank you to the other women who share their lives’ stories and comments; its so reassuring that I’m not the only one in America caught in this Web of Weirdness.

    Paula, today’s post did bring me unexpected humor (Blurt out Laughing!!!!): your quote “(As if dating is the first thing you want to do after being involved with a sociopath!!)”
    The TRUEST fact on the planet = that is the LAST THING that will ever happen!!!
    BINGO!
    Peace, Sister

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    • I’m glad my post helped, Heather. It’s difficult for anyone to understand what we face when dealing with these controlling buttholes. Others think we must have had something to do with why they treat us the way they treat us or make our lives more difficult than they need to be. NOPE! They simply can’t let go of their control even after the end of the relationship. It’s baffling even to those of us who understand. 🙂

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  13. I comment on your post all the time, because this is my life with my husband’s ex-wife. She wants all the control, but none of the responsibility. Of course, she moved in across the street from us for the simple reason that she was not done attempting to control my husband. Too bad for her., There is one thing I can’t stand and that is being controlled and manipulated. She is still seething that none of this has resulted in her getting what she wants.

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    • They never understand that relinquishing control is how we all win. But control is at the heart of these people. They never learn to let go when they need to let go, unfortunately.

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  14. I couldn’t agree with you more, when I left, I had my washer, dryer, tv and my clothes. Oh and all the bills! Yay me! What helped me tremendously, during my divorce and still now, through the never ending child custody battle, (it’s always about $, control and whatever bs he can muster) is this book I read called “Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Yourself With Borderling or Narcisstic Personality Disorder” written by Bill Eddy, LCWS, JD and Randi Kreger (co-author of Stop Walking on Eggshells). The reason I bring this book up. Is because Mr. Eddy is a attorney, and his view is not just dealing with the disorder specifically, but how to handle yourself and document etc etc – for your case and tailor it to you. I have been seperated and dealing with my ex since 07, he jas done deplorable things to me, my 4 children. I sincerely believe with this books help I was able to get him to sign them over to me 75/25 in my favor. I read the book in spring 2011 he signed in sept 2011. We are going back to court shortly – because he can’t follow the existing order I made all about him. Really? Is this so par for the course? I am sorry if its inappropriate to put up someone else’s book up on here. If you can’t have my post up or edit it – I understand. This book just reallt help me get through a lot of legal issues I felt he was constantly winning. And I was comstantly “the difficult one” or “being ridiculous” or “a Bitch”. My reply is always the same. You always revert to vulgarties when you cant get what you want. I am so sorry, your unhappy, but get over yourself. Bye. Thank you, for letting me vent this evening. It was a rough week. Monday is a do over! 🙂

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    • This is a great resource! My book is just part of my story and isn’t the backbone of why I maintain my blog. It helps pay for my yoga classes each month, which is good enough for me. Hehe!

      I am always looking for more books to share and titles to pass along and read, too. Thank you for sharing and good luck in court. 🙂

      “Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Yourself With Borderling or Narcisstic Personality Disorder” written by Bill Eddy, LCWS, JD and Randi Kreger (co-author of Stop Walking on Eggshells).

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  15. “They are the winningest losers on the planet!”

    LOL! I love this! Well said 🙂

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  16. My ex husband had MS, so I did agree to give him more than 1/2 of our assets. What I did not know was that his sister had power of attorney, prior to our divorce. (I knew she was influencing his decisions) he was like two different people. One could be reasonable, the other one was angry and mean. My divorce lasted 7 long painful years because his sister was the one making the decisions, not him. She took me back to court four times to INCREASE the alimony I was paying, even after I gave him everything I could. All the while, she and his attorney were using our home’s equity to pay her attorney fee’s without my approval or knowledge. I had agreed to waive use and possession so he could live in the house. By the time the sale of the house was settled, it was worth much less and his attorney got more money from the equity than either one of us. I know my story is unique, but it didn’t matter how much I gave or offered, it was never enough for his sister. She resented me and she resented her own brother. He was controlling in our marriage, the MS complicated things. But, he was so much worse because she had convinced his attorney that I was the enemy.

    Website: Verbal Abuse Journals

    Books: Kellie Jo Holly Amazon Author Page

    HealthyPlace.com Blog: Verbal Abuse in Relationships

    Social Media:

    Verbal Abuse Journals facebook page

    kellie.holly on facebook
    @abuse_journals on twitter

    ————e

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    • Adding a third person certainly adds complexity. Seems criminal what his sister was able to accomplish as power-of-attorney. And I am very familiar with Kellie Jo’s site and Emergency Fund nonprofit. Thanks for sharing those links, Laurie.

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