Ending a marriage or a serious relationship is never easy, especially when children are involved. Even in the most amicable of break ups, people are certain to experience intense emotions like anger and sadness. When the former partner is a narcissist or has another serious personality disorder, moving on from the relationship is especially challenging. People who finally found the courage to leave their emotionally abusive partner may feel discouraged by having to remain in contact with him due to the kids. These exchanges can be as crazy making as they were when the victim of emotional abuse still lived with her former partner.
Author Lisa Kroulik divorced a narcissist over five years ago. She uses an example from her own past relationship to show readers the types of situations they may encounter while attempting to co-parent with someone who has a personality disorder. She offers a helpful guide on the ten known personality disorders to assist women who are emotionally struggling in the aftermath of ending an unhealthy relationship.
I want to preface my review by saying that I have no personal experience with divorce or relationships with narcissistic men. My opinions are based solely on the fact that I have been a paralegal in family law and divorce law firms for the past 6 years. I have seen practically every situation you could possibly think of. Nothing surprises me (sadly).
Don’t be turned off by the occasional jab by the author at her ex-husband. She accuses him of leeching, mooching, and calls his new girlfriend a “sucker.” The author admits that writing this book was “therapeutic” and her intention was to have fun at her ex-husband’s expense. She was, after all, dealing with a narcissistic and emotionally abusive husband. She deserves to “let it out.” However, this book has valuable knowledge for any woman who is in this situation. She explains the difference in personality disorders, but keeps it simple and uses relatable examples aimed to help a layperson understand why their partner or ex-partner behaves in a certain way.
The author offers her own real life examples and scenarios of what happens after a divorce with a narcissistic ex. She talks about the struggles with trying to get the child support owed to her and the scheduled parenting time with her children not going as planned and/or ordered by the court. She uses these examples to show women how to co-parent without giving control to the narcissistic ex.
I agree with much of her advice, such as sticking to the facts and leaving emotion out when documenting events. This also goes for communication with your ex. The author states that the “best way to navigate interactions with a personality disordered former partner is to keep them on topic, firm, and businesslike.” I couldn’t agree more. If you are still going through court proceedings and nit-picking every little thing and coming off as overly emotional, you are not helping yourself. Be thorough, yet concise.
Another point the author makes is to “tread slowly with new partners.” This is critical when there are children involved. Divorce is a difficult time when emotions are running high. Not only do you need time to cope, there is a grieving process that your children go through as well. The age of the children makes a big difference in this process. Younger children will be more negatively affected by not being allowed to complete the grieving process. If you “move on” before they do, there may be detrimental effects to the children. Sometimes you will have to wait longer than you would like, but this is the sacrifice you make as the parent.
One thing I want to point out is that each state has a different court system, with different laws, procedures, and personnel. The author talks about her struggles with receiving child support and the possibility of turning to child support collection agencies, which cost a fee. In Colorado, there are other ways of collecting child support, such as serving Writs of Garnishment on employers and banks holding their money, or filing liens against property they own. And if they still don’t comply, you can seek sanctions against them with the court, with the possibility of them going to jail for not paying. To really know what your options are, you should consult an attorney. I can’t count the number of people who end up going back to court or coming to us for advice because they didn’t use an attorney in the first place. Yes, attorneys can be expensive. But would you rather pay a professional to fix your leaky toilet, or pay a professional to remodel your house after you tried to fix it yourself and the whole house flooded?
The author talks about the importance of maintaining a relationship with the in-laws, especially for the children to have a relationship with their grandparents. She strives to not “hate” her ex, but recognizes that they aren’t going to be friends either. “My goal is actually indifference.” And that is perfectly healthy when you don’t have a cooperative parent. All these points are valid and important to maintain as much stability for the children as possible.
This quick read will empower any woman who is struggling after an emotionally abusive relationship with a narcissistic man.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.