I believe that a parent’s unnecessary divorce (meaning there’s no safety issue) is the ultimate act of narcissism.
Before you say your parents divorced and you turned out fine, or it’s all about how you co-parent after, save it. To me, it’s no different than the people who say they were spanked and they turned out fine, or it’s all about whether you punished with love or not. An unconscious act is an unconscious act.
What’s a Narcissist?
We all exist on a narcissist-empath spectrum. The narcissist depends on everyone to meet their needs so they can feel loved and the empath meets everyone’s needs (but their own) so they can feel loved.
What I see happen is that, rather than pulling themselves into balance through their own self-awareness and personal growth, instead either the husband or the wife is pissed because either a) the other stopped meeting their needs (in the case of the more narcissistic partner) or b) their efforts to meet everyone else’s needs no longer sufficed for the giant void left by not meeting their own needs (in the case of the more empathic partner).
Empaths Can Be Narcissists, Too
Basically, the dependence on the other to make them feel happy (“high vibe”) and loved (acceptable) grew and grew until they decided that the other person must just suck at this job and they needed to fire them and hire someone new.
The almost total dependence on another person to make them feel happy (psychologically or energetically) is the ultimate narcissistic act. Beyond not considering their personal responsibility for their own happiness, it doesn’t actually consider their child’s well-being — though they will convince themselves it does. They will decide that because THEY aren’t happy, their children must not be too, and that they’ll be better off without the ‘inferior’ parent present anyway.
Your Spouse Isn’t The Problem
Yet in this unnecessary divorce (again, safety isn’t the issue) the “problem” was the relationship itself, created by the imbalance present in the petitioning parent. This imbalance (when they reside on one far end of the narcissist-empath spectrum instead of in a healthy middle) created the negative back and forth exchanges, combative communication, disconnected parties, and perpetual fear about the other person, which resulted in fueling the worst of each other.
In other words, with someone accepting them within self-respecting boundaries, the “bad” parent would actually become quite a lovely, happy person. And I’m not blind to the fact that the stepping out of the dysfunctional role we’ve played and growing can be uncomfortable. It can also be uncomfortable to allow our partner to grow. But is it necessary? Yes!! We cannot skip the many tiny boundaries we must hold to show others how to love us and jump right to the ultimate boundary of divorce.
That’s all divorce is: a boundary. If you haven’t made a sincere attempt to hold those little boundaries–doing what you want to do, sharing your heart, walking away from disrespectful language or behavior–then you aren’t ready to hold the ultimate boundary of divorce. It exists for marriages where a physical separation is necessary to keep you or your children safe from real harm.
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Avoidance Isn’t Consciousness
What I see is a lot of “awakening” or “conscious” women spiritually bypassing, thinking they’ve outgrown their husbands, who just need to “evolve.” They don’t like their “low energy” which brings down their “vibe.” I know, because I was one of them! It was my own inability to truly self-regulate no matter what was going on around me that caused me to feel this way. I hadn’t transcended fear, I just set up my environment to try to avoid entering it. I wasn’t able to love this man and hold compassionate boundaries. Leaving my children would have been an incredibly narcissistic act, whether I could see it then or not.
A Glimpse Into Your Child’s Future
I saw a letter today on Reddit, posted by a stepmom, written to a divorced dad by her now young adult daughter who is cutting them off. It mirrors a lot of what I felt (though my parents didn’t have more children, I can’t even imagine that pain), and I think if you’re on the fence about divorce, you should read it. Hopefully, she doesn’t mind me posting this anonymously because I think it’s important for children of divorce to speak out about what they REALLY go through:
I have struggled a lot with my feelings all these years, and have recently been able to verbalize them with the help of the therapist available at school. I get that you and mom didn’t want to be with each other anymore, but I could never understand why you only wanted to see me two days a week. When I got a little older I understood that that’s what happens in divorce, but I thought you would still want me after. I used to tell myself that you just didn’t want to be a dad, but that was just not true after SON was born. Then I tried to rationalize my feelings saying that maybe you did not want a daughter, which is why you wanted to be with him all the time, but not me. When DAUGHTER was born, I saw how much you loved her and thought maybe I was the problem. As I entered high school, I tried so hard to impress you–taking all the hardest classes and doing well, being involved in soccer because you loved soccer, and having a job. It never seemed to be enough. When I went to college, and met my friends, it felt more like home than it ever felt with you. I have struggled with my feelings with self-love and it’s affected a lot of my relationships and that’s when I started seeing the therapist at school. I love you very much and want you to be happy, but it hurts that I was never a part of your life the way your other kids were. Please give me space.”
Know that this is very likely to be you at some point in the future. Divorce is not the only option. In fact, it’s the last option.
Please schedule a call with me if you’d like to explore your options. I’m a marriage alchemist for driven moms and I’ve created the only 6-step program that helps you use your marriage as a feedback loop to grow in self-awareness so you can create the relationship you want without leaving the one you’re in.
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