Are you divorcing a narcissist? Bombarded with crazy-making emails that leave your head spinning? Thought we could use some humor around here. This is an excerpt from, “The Narc Decoder: Understanding the Language of the Narcissist” (and an actual email from my ex-husband, Seth):
Separated for six months and Seth found out that I had a social life away from him and our marriage. I had just met Glenn (now husband), and we had developed a strong friendship. Despite the fact that he had been dating multiple women for six months, it was unacceptable when the tables were turned.
Tina- First please walk with me through this anecdote. At dusk last night I was running up Montara Mountain which soars thousands of feet above the Pacific Ocean. I was trying to decide what to do as I can’t focus on much right now. I have lost everything. Now I have lost my wife too. My foregone conclusion, I caused this by my own pride and lack of caring. Thus I run mountains to deal with the stress of my colossal failure. Painfully enduring an hour of running uphill is my therapy.
On the top ridges, wildlife changes from furry rabbits and songbirds to hawks and big bucks. After enjoying the top for a few minutes I began the descent. At the top as I first careened down the narrow trail, I was startled as right over my head two blue doves in a tree who fluttered away less than five feet from my head. I have never seen doves while running a trail. I continued down and they slowly descended down the valley together. Two blue doves at 2,000 feet above sea level. What does this mean? Well it must mean I must focus on love, forgiveness and apologies now.
I have been full of pride and driven by success. To you, I have failed to deliver the level of affection you deserve. I am actually very emotional but I don’t like sharing my feelings as I think this shows weakness or lack of masculinity for some reason. I was afraid of counseling. I was afraid of the counselor chipping away at the shell that I used to plow forward at the expense of myself and the family. Well, I know I lost myself in those years of running a business. I feel like I put on a façade and became a different person over the last 6 years…and for what? A big house on the hill filled with designer furniture. Burn it to the ground, I don’t care.
Looking back, I was happiest in my life when we were together. Yes, there was an inner drive in me that pushed for success on all levels. But I truly have the best memories of my life when we were together in love on vacations, Jamaica, Hawaii especially in 2001 and 2004. The highest time of my life I think was when we were living in Marin in our little 1940s home. This summer when we stayed in the little Lake cottage in New Hampshire, Piper loved that little house, and said so. That touched me. The children care about closeness and the love within our family.
Bottom line. So here it is. I have been a total dick. I should have just let it all go and get back to living life. I should have apologized more. I should have stopped spending beyond our means. I finally have a little taste of life like it was back in Marin again. And enjoying life, the outdoors, new experiences with the girls, flying a kite for the first time, watching Piper and Sarah playing with friends at the beach, or Sarah covering herself head to toe in sand at Pismo Beach—this is what life is about. This is life for me.
Work should cover food, rent and offer some free money to find new ways to enjoy life. Work over the past 6 years has consumed me and swallowed me alive. I think our counselor failed to get past the money issues as they were so Titanic. He didn’t give us any concrete 1-10 steps on making headway. That five months of counseling totally failed because he was the wrong guy. I will go to any counselor of your choice as long as it is less than $50/hour. I will pay for it by delivering newspapers at 4 am if I need to. I will make a 180-degree attitude change. I will embrace and follow the processes and steps in these books Emotional Fitness for Couples, What You Feel You Can Heal, Seven Levels of Intimacy. You can continue racing away and discovering yourself every weekend. The girls and I are having lots of fun. Only difference would be I would get a hug when you leave and return. I think I still remember how to do that. I want you to discover yourself, to grow independently of me. To live simply and enjoy life. You deserve it.
Most importantly, you have now said everything that has been on your chest that normally would have come out in counseling. I too have said everything that has been on my chest. The most recent comment about your weight was inappropriate. You do look as good as you looked 5 years ago when we raced off to Jamaica. I don’t know if that is because you are tanning, lost 10 pounds, are wearing your old clothes….I don’t know what it is but you are hot. Maybe just being away from you made me realize how stupid I have been. I was so naïve to push you away and alienate you when times became tougher.
Regardless of your decision, I forgive you. If you go through six more months of counseling with me and it doesn’t work, you can keep everything. I don’t care about the stuff, the furniture, it’s useless. This is your decision to accept the “me” of seven years ago, stripped to nothing, with no more than the heart and desire to change…or move on in your life alone. The choice is yours. PS Waldorf Couples Counseling Resort is $99 a night in Arizona on Priceline. Love (hopefully), Seth
“Snap, fizzle, pop” and out comes the decoded email:
Tina- First, it would be helpful if you’d swallow this nice concoction of tranquilizers that I’ve prepared so I can brainwash you into staying with me. Eh hmmm….let the poetry begin…it’s worked like a charm hundreds of times before! At dusk last night I was running up Montara Mountain which soars thousands of feet above the Pacific Ocean. Have I flexed for you lately? No, no…that was the mirror I was flexing for. Back to my story (this is the good part…the part where I play the victim), I am having a difficult time as I’ve lost all of my material possessions and control over you. For the purpose of emotionally scamming you, I’m going to take the blame for all of the losses we’ve faced but for the record, I blame the loan department of the bank for my failure. How dare they not buy into my scheme and float me another $200K! Those assholes!
On the top ridges, there were cute fuzzy bunnies and songbirds chirping your name… “Tina…Tina….take Seth back…tweedle dee…” It was SO cute! There were also doves (not really but I know they hold special meaning to you and that you will see this as a sign we should be together. Anyway, back to my story.) Two blue doves in a tree fluttered away less than five feet from my head. I have never seen doves while running a trail because I’m usually too busy checking out my own calf muscles. I continued down and the imaginary doves slowly descended down the valley together. Two blue doves at 2000 feet above sea level! What does this mean? Well it must mean that you should take me back – get it? WE are the doves! Duh!
I am and always have been full of pride and driven to use and abuse others for my own success. I have zero emotions which makes me sound inhuman so mums the word! I was afraid of going to counseling for fear of someone chipping away at me or asking me to take a psych evaluation. Looking back, I was most happy in my life when we were together. I truly have the best memories of my life when I was pretending to be in love with you on vacations such as Jamaica and Hawaii. Especially from 2000 – 2004 because we didn’t have kids and you only weighed 100lbs! Those were the days! The highest time of my life I think was when we were living in Marin in our little 1940s home. I really miss having a bubbly blonde girl on my arm and if you notice, the best times (for me) were pre-children. I hate going places alone because I am so socially awkward. I miss having you as my shield!
Is the tranquilizer kicking in yet? I’m about to go deeper by telling you that I want the same things you’ve always wanted – the LITTLE house, the normal cars, and to spend my weekends flying a kite with the kids. I want whatever you want and then, as soon as you are back in my web, I will start spending thousands of dollars a day to impress people who don’t even like me with stuff we don’t need. We both know that everything I am feeding you right now is bullshit but if the tranquilizer starts to kick in, you may actually believe me!
I think our counselor failed to get past the money issues as they were so Titanic. Let’s not talk about the fact that I ran us into debt to the tune of 1.6 million. I think everything was the therapist’s fault despite the fact that he has a PhD and was intimately familiar with psychopaths. I think he saw through me – what an epic failure he was! That five months of counseling totally failed because he was the wrong guy!
Please ignore my recent comment about the fact that I haven’t been turned on by you in five years. Now, due to the stress of our separation and the fact that you can’t hold down food, you do look as good as you looked 5 years ago, pre-children. I don’t know if that is because you are tanning, lost 10 pounds, wearing your old clothes? I don’t know but now, you are hot and because of that, I want you back! I would love to continue to pull one over on you by luring you to a couples retreat! Interested? Here…have another yummy little tranquilizer! – Seth
One Mom’s Battle: Our mission at One Mom’s Battle is to increase awareness of Cluster B personality disorders (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder) and their impact upon shared parenting and the Family Court System which includes Judges, CPS workers, Guardian ad Litems (GAL), Parenting Coordinators (PC), Custody Evaluators, therapists and attorneys. Education on Cluster B disorders will allow these professionals to truly act in the best interest of the children. Interested in educating your judge or Family Court professional? Click here.
History of One Mom’s Battle: In 2009, One Mom’s Battle began with one mother, (Tina Swithin), navigating the choppy waters of a high-conflict divorce in the Family Court System. Since then, it has turned into a grassroots movement reaching the far corners of the Earth. Tina’s battle spanned from 2009 – 2014 during which time she acted as her own attorney. Ultimately, Tina was successful in protecting her daughters and her family has enjoyed complete peace since October 2014 when a Family Court commissioner called her ex-husband a “sociopath” and revoked his parenting time in a final custody order.
Tina Swithin: Tina Swithin’s books are available online at Amazon (print, Kindle or audio format). Each year, Tina offers life-changing weekends of camaraderie and healing at the Lemonade Power Retreat. Tina also offers one-on-one coaching services and a private, secure forum called, The Lemonade Club, for those enduring high-conflict custody battles.