(Originally posted 7-Apr-2018)
The divorce was not as nasty as some, but worse than others.
For years, I didn’t say much at all about their father in front of the kids. I did not want to transfer my feelings toward him to them. He wasn’t their abuser. He was their dad.
As someone who lost my dad young, I didn’t want anything to take away from their opportunity to know and respect their father as an individual, not as my ex.
And I expected the same respect in return, but it is clear now that courtesy wasn’t extended.
Years later, after their father’s life ended, I was put in the sometimes awkward position of being their emotional connection to their dad. I could not look at him in hindsight as my abusive ex.
He was just their dad, who loved them, and they loved him, and what happened between us in our failed marriage wasn’t their fault.
So I learned. I used what I knew of him from our time together and what I knew of his family and his time spent after the divorce, to come up with a diagnosis.
Yes, it’s something you should never do. But, I had to. For me.
He was, of course, never diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. I’ve studied many types of mental illnesses, taken dozens of assessments, and come to terms with the worst of my symptoms. I’ve wondered if I had NPD.
(Chances are, if you’ve ever contemplated if you have NPD; you don’t.)
So going forward, please know that my presumption that my ex suffered from NPD is just my amateur opinion, and that it helps ME see him as a sufferer of a disorder rather than the person who abused me, which helps ME relate to him as a fellow victim of serious mental illness, as a good person who was flawed, and present him to our children as the man I loved and wanted to build a family with, despite our inability to stay together. It is how best to let MY emotional sensitivity deal with the things that happened in our years together.
Toward the end, he was seeing a counselor for depression. He wasn’t as confrontational toward me. I wish we’d been able to talk about it. I didn’t want to be the enemy.
We were both parents of the same wonderful children. We didn’t have to squabble over every detail of what schools they attended, down to what they ate for lunch. But that’s what we’d done. I don’t think he was able to allow me to be right about anything, looking back. I don’t think he wanted to fight — he just wanted to hear that he was right.