Thursday, March 06, 2008

Mental cruelty, pain and suffering, and resources for the abused

I'm not familiar with what's typical in divorce proceedings, so I have a question that some of you may be able to fill us in on.

I have noticed that "mental cruelty" seems to be used as a justification for divorce a lot. Frankly, the idea strikes me as though it may be overused and that overuse cheapens, trivializes mental cruelty in cases where it really does occur.

Kinda like "pain and suffering" due to an auto accident.

If my hunch is right on this, it can help explain why the public seems so callous, why people don't take the mental cruelty and pain and suffering caused by psychopaths and narcissists seriously.

In fact, I am sure this is what happens with the codependancy wrap. Many of these psychologists think EVERYONE's parents abused them. That trivializes real child abuse and dumps the blame for every bit of adult anger for ANYTHING on Mommy having been too busy now and then to read you a story when you were 4. (Anything to blame the victim and all of society instead of the perp.)

Comments on this are welcome.

Links to sources of help for the victims of narcs are also welcome - like links to lists of attorneys experienced in dealing with these cases, who understand NPD and how to defeat the tricks Ns play.

Also, I hear that therapists who work in shelters seem to understand best and don't plague the victim with the old "It takes two to tango" junk or the "Forgive and forget" junk. They also seem to understand how careful a woman must be when leaving an N and can give specific advice on precautions to take. So, again, if you know of good links to add to the resources list, do post them. Any time.

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At 8:11 AM, Blogger Di said...

I suspect you're right. If you're hating each other, a normal couple are going to be guilty of saying unkind things over a long period, which could then be used as 'mental cruelty' in the divorce.

This just can't compare to the type of mental cruelty inflicted by an N, and which won't in any case be quoted in many divorce cases involving these types.

My own divorce was on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour, as at that time I just didn't recognise most of what happened to me as abuse, and the abuse I did recognise I couldn't bring myself to tell my solicitor about as I was still half convinced that it was me who was 'faulty'.

I ended up using the lack of help with the children, around the home, his leaving his jobs at the drop of a hat on repeated occasions, etc as grounds. The mental, verbal, emotional, financial and often physical abuse wasn't really mentioned at all. I was still in the 'fog' then.

That aside, I also think that people don't take mental cruelty seriously beause they just don't understand it. A woman married to a normal man who might lose his temper occasionally when under stress may honestly believe the woman married to an N who is abusive repeatedly and deliberately many times a day every day, is just hysterical or over-reacting, because it's outside their experience and as such they just cannot comprehend what the other woman has experienced.

At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm divorcing an NPD/APD/Passive-Aggressive.
STBXPDW has been very much playing that she has been controlled and manipulated by me.
I used to believe this bullshit, so needless to say, I spent 15 years walking on eggshells although that is what she always said that she was doing.
I fought long and hard to save this marriage as I believed her, that I was the problem. As more distance between us occurs I see the projection, the manipulation, the controll, etc. exerted by her.
Oppppsssssss..... Boy, did I have it wrong. LOL.
I've been in counseling witha Christian Pastor and a former Buddhist Monk Therapist. I must say it has been an awesome combination. Two very neat points of view, and yet so similar.
I've learned that there really are evil people and that they hide behind normalacy. And that there is a name for it-Personality Disordered.
Anyways, this divorce buisness is just as goofy as trying to make a family work with STBXPDW. It doesn't. She is perpetually throwing the monkey wrenches around. Cannot honor her aggreements in Mediation about the kids. PITA. And this behavior includes, honestly, her immediate and extended family, friends and associates. My experience has shown that these PD folks can and do run in packs. Like wolves. LOL.
STBXPDW has lied so much on court documents, etc. that it is kinda bewildering. Then she acts the poor victim. Typical NPD script.
I've gotten primary placement of the children with limited exposure to their mom and her world, which I believe is in the best interests of the kids.
But, the process doesn't want to hear about, psychological or emotional abuse. Only physical. They don't want to hear about drug and alcohol abuse. They seem to feel that regardless of how messed uo a parent is the kids should be with both parents. Bullshit. The disordered are a threat.
Anyways, that's my story.
Kathy, your blog and website have helped me tremendously to see what I've been dealing with and has helped me to walk away from the nitemare of STBXPDW, to see things as they really are. Thankyou.

BoB ;)

At 7:54 AM, Anonymous Barbara said...

Hey Kathy - I have a load of links on the right hand side of my site:

for good validation:

a great weekly read:
(Dr. Brown also runs retreats and has some GREAT book on the subject)


Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft

Why Is It Always About You? - Sandy Hotchkiss

Emotional Rape Syndrome - Dr. Mike Fox

BTW - a lot of narcissists go to therapy (1 or 2 times) after getting caught and LOVE to adopt the old "it takes 2 to tango" or "she's a codependent stalker" or "She did it too" etc etc - JUNK.

My favorite is "she played my game WITH ME." Now come on, did she KNOW it was game? Did you TELL her you were playing a game? Using, manipulating & love bombing do not make for CONSENTUAL - they make for PREDATION.

Some good links on divorce information:

Thanks Kathy! (if I think of more I will pass them along)

At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Divorce is so different in so many states. In mine? We have NO FAULT.

So if he cheats, abuses me, the children, abandons us, goes to jail or burns our house down, there's 'NO FAULT.'

The only penalty he might suffer for this abuse is less or no custody of the children. Which probably benefits him anyway...

So that's a tough one.

In my case, what worked best was to literally stroke his ego, that he would be "a man" if he did this or that...if you can stomach it.

Lundy Bancroft also has a book on divorcing an abuser, which is mostly about custody, but he is sharp and everything helps.

Under "resources" I am also hoping for some suggestions from my wise friends here on how to deal with the dozens of people who tell me that "he was SO nice" or who keep saying we'll be back together because "he loves me so much."

I would give my right arm for a sharp, to the point response that will allow me to shut this discourse off while delivering a message that he was abusing me.

I am sick and tired of feeling like I am always at a loss for words when these well-meaning people tell me how much he loves me. But I also don't want to sound bitter.

There seems to be no way to have a quick response that explains all this and shuts the exchange down. I want to be done with this.

I want to plant a small seed in their brains about his abuse of me so when his next victim is suffering, these 'well-meaning' people might give the seed to her.

"Hey, that sounds like what he did to his last girlfriend/wife..."

Many people gave me the seed after the women before me planted it and it was very helpful in validating my gut feeling about this guy.

Any suggestions on how to respond?

At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Divorce and an N.?

In my case the only thing what worked for me, was no direct contact with him, not whatsoever. Not by phone, not by email, not by sms, not by seeing simply no contact. I never responded to him, he never saw my emotions, anger, hate, helplesness at times. So I disappeared. All correspondence etc. went via my lawyer. In court I just listened, didn't respond when he was trying to push my buttons. As time went on he started talking more and more, answerring the judge, his ego made him go under. Wrong answers, wrong attitude. Give it a change to let it come out in front of the judge. One cannot say he has NPD, let facts show what he is. Stay strong, very strong, all the time. Don't be afraid and look straight in his eyes, if necessary, show no fear! and no emotions. The N. will lose his temper and will go out of controle.

Personally I couldn't swallow my pride, I couldn't pamper his ego and refussed to do it. So this was my way and my answer. It works so far for me. He knows now he can't mess with me anymore and that safed me for a lot of abuse after.

I think that if you were involved with an N. you need to let time do it's work. No defending of yourselves, no explaining to people who don't or not even consider to understand it. That is waisting time and energy. Just walk out, leave them, let them have their experience.

Even you're children will notice over time, what you never could explain and they didn't want to hear. But they will feel it, one day, then they know and you don't have to say anything ever again.

So time is what will be you're partner, but one needs to be patience and in the meantime try to make a start for the new future.

And also some people will never see it, they will remain adoring this illusion. Let them!


At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was beautiful !!!

BoB ;)

At 2:41 PM, Blogger sonicido said...

Hi all :) I've missed being here!
I wanted to reply to a few of you. :)
Bob, my brother-in-law tried to divorce his wife, she threw herself through his sliding glass door and called 911 and said he pushed her-he went to jail. Then, she jumped in his truck and stripped the transmission, while he pulled her out, she screamed and a UPS man testified that he saw Tim using "force" with her. She pulled these things so often that by the time they divorced, he was living out of his car for 6 months and eating apples from trees on TN. :( feel encouraged, you are not alone (sad, but true!)
At the time, I had no clue that I was married to a MAL.N who is his brother! Because my husband was sneakier and not as blatant as Tim's wife.

To Anonymous 5:06 p.m.:
I heard that a lot at first-especially because we'd been married 20 years and had 9 children. Everyone was grasping for hope for our family. The BEST thing you can do is give it time as Anonymous 5:20 says. However, if you are in a situation where you MUST say SOMETHING-then, give them this website address. Tell them to go get educated- and then you'll talk; no, THEN you'll listen to their opinion. Actually, I'm thinking of getting some business cards made up with this link all by itself printed on the front. JUST THIS WEB ADDRESS by itself. I'd love to drop them everywhere and mail them to a few people-not to mention hand it over when I get sympathizers in my face!

At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Bob :))

And like an idea!! ;))


At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I so needed to be "allowed" to be angry at the situation. If I skipped that I don't know if I could have gotten to acceptance. And I touch on acceptance now and again, a year later, I haven't been able to make it my permanent residence. Time, loved ones, finding how to love myself enough to keep unacceptable behavior out of my life. To define my own reality took work. I had to rewash my brain. These sites helped so much. I needed to be able to say this happened and it happened to me. And I am going to live a happy life in spite of the sick *@#$!!!

At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

there was another book that helped me a lot. WHY DOES HE DO THAT by Lundy Bancroft

I felt like I stole his playbook


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