Hello, dads forum

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Dufresne

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Hello, dads forum
« on: November 04, 2014, 04:20:50 PM »
This is really cool ... a forum for non dads. I'm in a very similar boat to many of you other dads on here. I've been married to my wife, whom I suspect to be PD in some form. We just marked out 10 year anniversary. We have two sons (8 and 5). I will celebrate my big Four Zero in February. I love all of them very much. That said, she sure makes life a living hell sometimes. Many of these incidents are detailed on previous posts and replies to others. As I write this, we are in what is so far fairly drama-free spell of time. I've learned to expect those times not to last.

I know in my rational mind, that I should probably get out of my marriage. I suppose my reasons for staying right now are, well, complicated. My heart just breaks for the boys when I think of them experiencing their parents divorcing. I would be lying if I said that potential lifestyle changes that result from divorce were not something that gives me pause. I have many blessings in my life as it currently is, my wife's $hitty behavior notwithstanding. I worry about divorce theft that occurs sometimes when a marriage falls apart. I worry about being alienated from my kids. My older son has on a few occasions parroted criticisms to me that sound oddly familiar. He will even sometimes verbally side with his mother when I am the recipient of her verbal carpet bombings. Anyway, there aren't' any easy answers to nay of this. I know that I'm not an innocent bystander in my own life. I have my own lesser qualities and human failings that are part of the mix. I have found a lot of helpful stuff here on OOTF. Keep up the good work, those of you who keep it humming.  :applause:
“I’m responsible only for what I say, not what you understand.” ~John Wayne

"A man may fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins blaming someone else." ~John Burroughs

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divorcingnpd

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Re: Hello, dads forum
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2014, 04:49:10 PM »
Hi Dufresne -

My kids are about the same age as yours. How long have you suspected your wife has a PD?

Since PD's can vary widely on the spectrum from annoying to truly horrible, the decision to leave or stay is very personal.

I also had a huge fear of disappointing my kids by telling them we were getting a divorce. My experience was that they handled it much better than I expected and I learned that my fear was much bigger in my mind.

I came to the conclusion that staying in the marriage was doing more damage to my kids than divorcing would. I was modeling a hopeless and dejected father figure to them who was powerless to stand up to and negotiate with my NPD wife. When I realized I could not negotiate a gentler parenting style with her, I knew divorce was the best option.

I can tell you from the perspective of 7 months since filing for divorce and separating that my kids are doing well and have adjusted to the 50/50 parenting schedule and the two houses. I am still in a protracted legal battle with my stbx NPD wife but I am hopeful to end that phase in a few months.

It truly is helpful to hear others stories and how they are coping and what they have experienced. Thanks for sharing your story.

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Dufresne

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Re: Hello, dads forum
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2014, 05:34:18 PM »
Well if I'm being honest with myself, I knew that there was something off during our time as boyfriend, and girlfriend. During the time when it would have been infinitely less complicated to get out. Before, marriage, mortgages, and kids. When I hear younger people talk about how unsatisfied they are in dating relationships, I think to myself "Good God ... Seriously? If you're that unhappy, you could literally end this with a phone call if you wanted to...." In my estimation, that's how little obligation you have at that point in your life. Not a very decent, or grown up move, but not technically outside of the rules .... but I digress.

 It was my first real, legit relationship, so I didn't have any "normal" frame of reference. I was also under the assumption that there is an irreducible minimum of abuse $hit that men are culturally required to put up with from women they desire to be attached to. Looking back, there are red flags all over the place, that A) I chose to ignore B) I thought would get better as were together longer, or C) Simply missed. Hindsight is 20/20 ... truer words were never spoken. I take partial blame for the current state of my life. I have enabled it, to a point. As far as divorce goes, I have really mixed feelings about it. Part of it is a point of pride. There is a part of me that doesn't want to have a failed marriage, or at least to be initiator of one. I get that unpleasant or negative things rarely happen as we fear they will. I guess that as of this moment, my resources for coping with the BS in my marriage are greater than that actual BS. I appreciate you reply and your wisdom. Be well.
“I’m responsible only for what I say, not what you understand.” ~John Wayne

"A man may fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins blaming someone else." ~John Burroughs

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FallingLeaves

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Re: Hello, dads forum
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2014, 12:46:15 AM »
This subforum is great!  I too realized way too late all these signs that point to a PD.  Funny thing is, when my uBPDw rages, there is a kernel of truth to her rage, it's just the response is in no proportion to the offense. 
I'd love a divorce, but I don't see it as a win until my 13 and 15 year old kids are older and can possibly understand this better. 

She rages at me in front of them, so I've been trying to show them coping strategies for that behavior.  Later, I explain that's no way for someone (her) to treat someone else (me).  I let them know it's okay to be upset with someone else, but the best way to handle it is to explain that you're upset and at least seek forgiveness.

Often, when she rages, she will give me a list of offenses that I have committed over the past N-teen years.  One time, I cut her off and told her I was familiar with the list, did she have any new ones?  Sadly, that felt like a small victory for me when she was speechless.

Now she is poking for new soft spots--I think I've hardened most of them up.  Which is very sad for me.

She's also pushing us over the edge financially.  This is another battle that can't really be won.

I think divorce is the endgame, but I am trying to shelter my kids from her gaslighting and splitting, etc as much as possible until then. 

Wish I knew the hand that I had been dealt many years ago.

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eclipse

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Re: Hello, dads forum
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2014, 09:31:34 AM »
Hey Dufresne and thanks for sharing your story.

I totally get the reasons for staying. I was in the staying camp for a long time too, married 12 years before I flipped, and very easily could still be married today if it hadn't been for an unexpected nudge from a few key friends and family. I had a good T during my custody battle who described the choice of staying/leaving as choosing the lesser of two evils. You hurt the kids/yourself either way. Thta helped me feel less guilty about my decisions. It's a rotten choice and I've seen the good and bad of both sides.

I believe that only the dad/husband in the situation can make that decision - someone else could try to convince you to stay or leave, but the dad is the one who lives with the consequences.



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Dufresne

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Re: Hello, dads forum
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2014, 02:31:26 PM »

One time, I cut her off and told her I was familiar with the list, did she have any new ones?  Sadly, that felt like a small victory for me when she was speechless.

Wish I knew the hand that I had been dealt many years ago.



Oh man! That's a good one. I request your kind permission to use that the next time I'm bombarded with a recap of every wrong and misstep I've ever done .... yeah, I wish I would have had the life and relationship experience to realize what I was getting myself into. I'm really not sure where she would fall as far as a diagnosis. She seems to exhibit Cluster B traits (mostly N and BPD, with a dash of H). I've never even broached the subject of her seeing a 1:1 therapist. The reaction would be ... let's just say not receptive. She is desperately lacking in any capacity to even consider that she's a key component in the discord. I'm not an innocent, as I've said many times before. I bring my own stuff to the table. I really do try to be easy to deal with and just an all around decent person, spouse and parent. I've come to realize that no matter how much focus, attention, or care that I devote to her relentless demands she will always find something to be unhappy about. Sometimes life with a PD is like having an overgrown toddler in the home.
“I’m responsible only for what I say, not what you understand.” ~John Wayne

"A man may fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins blaming someone else." ~John Burroughs

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FallingLeaves

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Re: Hello, dads forum
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2014, 05:37:59 PM »
Yes, feel free to use it.  LOL. 


Yes, I have found that if she gave me a honey do list of 100 items, and I finished 99 of them, she would only focus on the 1 I didn't get done.  Before I really figured her out, I would ask for a list of things to do, in the order she wanted them done.  Now I realize of course that would never happen, because then she can't move the goalposts in terms of what I was supposed to do.  I know I should get divorced. Someday I'll reach that decision in my heart.  Until then, just trying to shield the kids from her and provide them with some normalcy.

I like the overgrown toddler thought-it really is the way to deal with them.  Walk away from the tantrums and try again later.



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Freedomfromabuse

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Re: Hello, dads forum
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2014, 04:56:26 AM »
Thank you all so much for sharing.  Reading each of your stories reminds me of events 15 years ago when I married my PD-wife.  There were red flags while we were dating but I assumed love will heal all wounds.  Boy, was I wrong.

My wife used every tactic she could think of to manipulate and control me.  What was so confusing was when I allowed myself to be totally controlled by her, she was not happy but even more angry because I was not a real man.  I then realized she wanted to fight.  She pushed every button to get me riled up.  Then when I got loud or left the home, she felt better.

Then I became depressed from all the verbal abuse.  I was a zero.  I was worthless.  I knew nothing.  I was a liar and I did not love her because if I did, I would know what she wanted without her having to tell me.  I was supposed to be a mind reader and when I failed to know what she wanted she would rage for hours.  When I left the home to get some relief, she would lock the door.  I had to call the police to get back into my own home and retrieve my wallet.

Then there was theft.  I had a steady income and she worked now and again.  Her income when entirely into our "joint" savings account.  This was fine because I had a steady income and I thought we were building a nice nest egg together.  She encouraged me to save as much as I could from my income.

Then I found out that it was not a joint account but in her name only.  Immediately, she accused me of stealing her money.

I could not take it anymore so I moved out with only $30 in my wallet.  She got everything.  I worked for the next two years gaining custody of my daughter to save her life.

As you may guess by now, I recommend divorce.  Divorce is very hard on everyone.  The good news is the children do survive and they can grow up to be very healthy, productive adults.  I think this is better than staying married because the continued abuse from PDs can cause many emotional problems that become permanent in the children.  I think PD is developmental and may be learned from one or both parents.  If you get out when your kids are young like I did, they are spared all that abuse and will have better mental health.

Of course, each of your situations are different so I would suggest praying in the name of Jesus Christ to know what to do.  Read all you can.  Go to conferences and join support groups.  My therapist help me out tremendously.  I remember one session she told me that if I thought about going back to my wife to call her so she can talk me out of it.  It is a very tough decision.  You need a lot of support.  So, don't be shy, talk to people who care about you and your children so you can make a plan that is best for them.

When I focused on my daughter and her health and well being.  I became motivated to do what needed to be done.  My wife cannot hurt us anymore.  We are free from her abuse other than her constantly petitioning the court.  There is help and you can find it.  I wish you all well.  Remember, your children should not be abused.  Please protect them!   ;)

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negrito2013

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Re: Hello, dads forum
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2014, 06:47:06 PM »
Wow…description my life exactly.  My uBPDw is just same.  Over the weekend, I did everything around the house. I cleaned the bathrooms, washed the dishes, cleaned the yard, took my daughter to and from a birthday party, got my son a haircut, took care of  the dog’s needs…..no thank you, no hug, no emotional response.  She spent the weekend working out, going swimming, doing her eBay and did not once pay attention to me.  She did have some interaction with the kids but still, she decided to be “by herself” and not get involved with me at all.
I am planning on selling the house in spring and then finding a common agreement to separate.  This is no way to live.  I know the kids will take it hard but, it is not that I am abandoning  them.  I will be engaged as much as possible and will want to share custody, if it comes to divorce.
Stay safe and strong all.

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divorcingnpd

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Re: Hello, dads forum
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2014, 03:40:59 AM »
I agree with Freedomfromabuse. I remember how afraid I was of filing for divorce. But I knew that I could not protect my kids while I was still married. My NPD wife was not going to allow me to have any say in the decisions regarding discipline or care.

After a particularly horrible rage incident I left the house and drove to the address of a lawyer I had looked up on the internet several weeks prior. I walked in and started the divorce process.

My kids have done very well through this process. Much better than I imagined. My kids are relatively young at 4 and 7. But I think that is a good thing as they haven't been exposed to sustained abuse from their NPD mom.

Since PD is a spectrum disorder, everyone's experience is different. But I do take issue with the idea that staying in the marriage is more noble or better for the kids when one partner has a moderate to severe level of PD. I know how the fear of angering the PD can prevent us from taking the actions we know we need to.

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FallingLeaves

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Re: Hello, dads forum
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2014, 10:33:35 AM »
Since PD is a spectrum disorder, everyone's experience is different. But I do take issue with the idea that staying in the marriage is more noble or better for the kids when one partner has a moderate to severe level of PD. I know how the fear of angering the PD can prevent us from taking the actions we know we need to.

I apologize if I made it sound like staying was a better solution than leaving.  I don't think there is a right solution and everyone has to do what they think is best.  I don't think I am being more noble or brave or what-have-you.  I'm just trying to get through this the best way I can figure out.

Again, I didn't mean to diminish or criticize anyone else's decision, nor pretend that my personal decisions are best for others.

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Dufresne

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Re: Hello, dads forum
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2014, 02:26:31 PM »
Since PD is a spectrum disorder, everyone's experience is different. But I do take issue with the idea that staying in the marriage is more noble or better for the kids when one partner has a moderate to severe level of PD. I know how the fear of angering the PD can prevent us from taking the actions we know we need to.

I apologize if I made it sound like staying was a better solution than leaving.  I don't think there is a right solution and everyone has to do what they think is best.  I don't think I am being more noble or brave or what-have-you.  I'm just trying to get through this the best way I can figure out.

Again, I didn't mean to diminish or criticize anyone else's decision, nor pretend that my personal decisions are best for others.

Well put, FL!
“I’m responsible only for what I say, not what you understand.” ~John Wayne

"A man may fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins blaming someone else." ~John Burroughs

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Freedomfromabuse

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Re: Hello, dads forum
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2014, 09:55:57 PM »
It is a tough decision to make; to stay or to leave.  Since each PD person is different, it needs to be made with much thought and prayer.  In my case, there was Munchhausen syndrome by proxy so my daughter was in great danger.  Child protective services did nothing because my daughter's case "did not meet the criteria that the state has defined to be considered child abuse."  So my ex was never charged.  However, my lawyer and I continued to work to protect my daughter and thankfully there is no contact except for recorded phone calls, so my daughter is safe.  I think the guiding factor is the best interest of your child or children.  If they can gain something from a parent, then it may be better to stay.  If staying will cause irreparable harm, then it is better to leave.  Be courageous!  It is a fight no matter what you decide.  PDs have a way of creating conflict no matter what you do.  Don't let your desire for peace convince you to stay because you think your PD will be happy.  She may never be happy so it may be better to leave.  Again, it is a personal decision and not one to be made too quickly.  I wish you all well no matter what you decide.

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Merriweather

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Re: Hello, dads forum
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2015, 03:58:58 PM »
I decided to leave, because my ex-wife (now diagnosed NPD) was habitually abusive towards me and I became afraid for our 12 month old. The deciding moment was when she smashed a tea mug against a wall a few inches above our baby's head. Our daughter was hysterical and so was I. Over the course of 3 days she talked me down. Six months later, however, I was served with papers from a lawyer. She had taken the time to prepare for an aggressive divorce and I was subjected to every humiliation. I was accused of being an alcoholic (I had to submit liver enzyme tests to refute this) and having Aspergers syndrome (luckily my distress had led me to a psychologist and psychiatrist who knew better). I had to fight for every single hour. To this day I am fighting for more time with my daughter and under the most vicious of circumstances.

If I had followed through on my decision, I would be better of. My point is, when you realise what has happened, you need to act and act decisively. Perhaps, you cannot act right away, today. The most important thing is to prepare. It is really hard to admit the truth, so take baby steps. Hoard money; you'll need it. Find a good lawyer and build a relationship. I know that sounds crazy when you think what they cost, but most guys come into divorce looking like bad guys, and having a lawyer who's committed and doesn't think your just another loser trying to get back at his estranged wife, helps a lot. Have a few consultations. My second lawyer started listening to me, because she wasn't so eager to settle against a deadline.

Obviously, find a place to live. This is hard. This kills you. You've build a life and now you have to stay in a place you thought you left behind in your student days. You have to deal with a landlord. I lost property and ambition with my relationship. I curled up in a ball. However, it takes time to find the right place, and someone (you know who) will use that against you. If you're staying in some Motel, why should your children be with you? Find a nice place to stay before you get out of there.

Start recording the abuse. Take notes. Facts become like playdough during a divorce, BUT non PD people have those on their side, if they are available. My NPD-ex is an habitual liar and this means that any formal legal meeting is a win-win situation for me, because she lies and I call her out. Yay!

Remember this is pathology. You can win against it.

« Last Edit: November 01, 2015, 11:05:23 PM by Unda »

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Freedomfromabuse

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Re: Hello, dads forum
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2016, 04:08:35 AM »
I agree with Merriweather.  Planning, keeping good notes, and recordings are crucial. When you are married to a woman who is abusive to you, the children are hurt by witnessing the abuse. Often these women will be abusive to the children also. Divorce adds the court into the mix no matter who initially filed. The state will attempt to protect the children from abuse but since no one from the court lives with the children, it is hard for them to know who is abusive, the father, the mother, or both. My ex filed a lot of false allegations against me so I had to defend myself many times. Fortunately, the judge got to see how my ex was trying to deceive the court and gave me full physical and legal custody. It is crucial that you present evidence to support your statements. A lawyer can help you with this. Planning is key to being successful at protecting your children. Finding supportive friends who can help you secretly prepare for court. Some lawyer friends told me that court is like playing chess. A good lawyer will prepare several moves in advance and be quick to make adjustments as the need arises. Whether you hire a lawyer or not, you need to prepare securing recordings, keeping a journal, and planning your moves in order to bring the truth to light. My ex is very persistent. She keeps thinking that if she tells her lies often enough, they will be believed. You need to be more persistent speaking truth and making decisions that will benefit your children.