When you’ve divorced a narcissistic personality disordered person, and things have been going well for months, you will get email like this out of the blue:
This is serious. I can see his ribs in the bruise.
How did this happen?
Did he get x-rays?
Why didn’t you tell me?
And attached to this email, will be a huge photo of your son’s latest bruise, which he got by pretending to be a famous baseball player in the shower. Until he slipped.
And you will think to yourself about how much you love your child, and how gentle you are with him, and how you have never laid an angry hand on him, and how you would do anything for both of your children.
And then you think of the terrible, horrible things that your ex has done to you and your family. You will even think of the time when he threw you up against a wall, at the very end of the marriage, when you finally finally got hold of his cell phone. And how you banged your head on the wall before falling down in a heap. And how he calmly pulled the cell phone from your hand and got into bed. And how you were staying at your friend’s home on holiday, so you didn’t make a sound.
And then you will feel the fury building in you, the unjustness of it all and how it seems like it will never ever end and you will never, ever get away from him.
And then your survival instincts kick in. You will need to take a breath and be smart and answer his email calmly as if a judge was looking over your shoulder reading it. You will write that by lucky coincidence you went to a social event at your child’s pediatrician’s house right after the bruise occurred. You will briefly and succinctly point out that the pediatrician looked at it – and called it a bruise, nothing else, no x-rays or anything else required.
You will thank your lucky stars that you are friends with a pediatrician and that the stars were aligned the night she had a barbecue and your son got a bruise that would be blamed on you.
You know you shouldn’t, but you also point out in your email response that you think it’s wrong for your ex to be lifting up your son’s shirt and taking photos of his back – that it must be upsetting and confusing for your poor child. Traumatizing, really, though you don’t use that word.
And you feel the anger for hours afterwards because every time your children go to their father’s house for visitation, you worry about their physical and emotional safety. You know that they are finally truly thriving after the long divorce. But you know that this is a tenuous place to be when their father is a sick NPD.
When you divorce a NPD, it’s never over. You just hope and hope that he fades away into the background, hoping that more and more time passes between these accusations and episodes. You followed all the directions and detached. But can you really ever really escape?