Finally plucking up the courage to tell him to leave, the narcissist replied with venom, “You will go to hell and be in the gutter!” (names have been changed to protect identity)
After years of what she now realises was coercive behaviour, the narcissist’s ego was dented, she no longer existed and into that “gutter” she was heading. We’ll call her Sarah. We can’t use her real name here. Sarah believes that as she had been making noises about divorce for several years, her husband started to make plans.
Two years previously, he had moved his wife and their two young children out of the large family home they owned, into a six bedroom rented, with the words “We’ll buy in two years”. She would never see the proceeds of the house sale as his grand plan came to fruition.
The money from the house sale was deposited into his bank account never to be seen again. When Sarah started to mention the possibility of separation more frequently, he got her into huge debt by refusing to buy food or Christmas presents. Her husband worked for his Mother’s family business and told Sarah that because his Mother was ill she couldn’t pay him. He instructed Sarah to max out credit cards and overdrafts to survive, refusing to give her a penny. He also played with her head by saying that he had deposited money into her paypal account. She would see that money was supposedly coming in, but after a couple of days it would not clear and the transaction would disappear. Every time this happened, she would pray that he was not lying, but he was.
With no food and Christmas approaching fast, she did what he said. After all, he had done this many times during the marriage, at one point getting her £40k in debt. He would allow her to have the debt for a year, even paying the interest for her, just to keep the control. He would eventually pay off the debt with promises of how things were going to be different and she would feel grateful and relieved. However, with a year of only the interest being paid, her credit rating would again be at an all time low. She would not be able to leave, His thinking was that she would never leave as he always had full financial control, even keeping her credit rating low to further imprison her. She had been a stay at home mum for 15 years.
On this occasion, she continued her bravery and told him to leave after an incident of physical abuse. Sarah’s husband’s ego couldn’t deal with this. His grandiose self was asking him how someone could leave him, such a perfect person. In his final attempt at control, he carried out a para suicide, tying a rope around his neck, but she didn’t flinch. She’d had her light-bulb moment with the narcissist. She was not going back.
Sarah and the children ended up on the edge of the gutter, but not quite in it. With her husband refusing to pay the rent, she ended up declaring herself and the children homeless and it was only when they were heading to a shelter that a friend kindly helped them out by paying a years rent up front. Sarah had no credit rating, meaning that no landlord would take them on.
During this entire period of hell, her husband threw debts at her like missiles. He was able to remove himself from all the bills, electric, gas and water. Leaving Sarah to get into more debt. Not only that, she had the credit card debts, loans and overdrafts as she was leaving before they were paid by him. At the end of the day, it wouldn’t make much difference when she left, as she always had bad credit, he made sure of that.
“After leaving my husband, I was in a state of being under constant attack.. He said I would go to hell. Every time I asked for money or help with the children he would say that I was harassing him and call the Police. I told myself that I had to reach rock bottom and then the only way would be up!”Sarah
Sarah’s narcissist ex told everyone that he had no money, yet the children continued their education at their expensive prep school. All for his image. He would strut around the school and yet his children were living hand to mouth at home. He tricked the system by getting money from his Mother which is seen as gifts in the eyes of the law. He probably felt like he was winning, but all the time his children were suffering and it’s a time in their lives they will never forget.
Sarah has now been to court 15 times for the divorce. The narcissist can’t leave her alone. He still seeks to destroy her; non-molestation proceedings which came to nothing, (him to her!) and child arrangements hearings for ridiculous issues such as him not wanting the children to go to a Halloween party with their friends. More recently the finances have ended up at a final hearing (he’s now trying to appeal the decision – now there’s a surprise).
With the support of my new friends in The First Wives Club, (which became The Group Hug in 2019), I’ve come through the worst three years of my life and am stronger. Just knowing that I was not alone through all the coercive behaviour and threats helped me so much. I didn’t even realise I was in an emotionally abusive relationship, until I left and people (including social services) pointed it out to me.
One of the group even came to court with me a couple of times. I was lucky as I was granted legal aid but sadly only because I had suffered domestic abuse. There are many women who, because there is an asset, get no help or support from a solicitor so have to act litigant in person”Sarah
Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.