Why It Took Me 5 Overly Long And Abusive Years To Divorce A Narcissist

At no point, did the narcissist’s anger subside or retreat.

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My husband and I were arguing. I begged him to work on our marriage.

He was enraged by my confession of misery and loneliness.

I had done the worst thing you can do to a narcissist. I unknowingly uncovered what makes a narcissist the most frightening and dangerous.

I angered my husband. 

Which meant I had angered a narcissist. 

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And anger is what exposes a narcissist. 

It’s what drives a narcissist out of hiding. It’s when a narcissist unleashes their fury.

It’s when a narcissist becomes so out of control that their charm evaporates and their cruelty rages. A narcissist can’t help themselves when they believe they have been wronged.

"I don’t know what to tell you," said my husband.

"What do you mean?" I said. "Please we need to go back to counseling."

"You started the war," he said. "And you’re never going to win."

"If you believe there’s winning and losing in love," I said. "You’ve already lost."

I had no idea what is truly brewing below the narcissist’s facade.


I didn't realize I had truly started a war. I thought my husband was simply using a turn of phrase. I thought these were the words of an angry man.

A guy with a long history of no negotiations.

A guy with no ability to compromise.

A guy who was controlling and unrelenting.

I exhausted myself a while longer. I tried everything — I begged, I pleaded, I talked, I overtalked, I got upset, I yelled, and I cried.

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My husband did not hear me. He did not care.

I continued going to marriage counseling alone. He refused to return.

I didn't realize a narcissist simmers with anger.

I didn't understand this wouldn't be extinguished. 


I believed divorce would be a resolution and not a term for retribution.

It took me five overly long and abusive years to divorce a narcissist.

At no point, did the narcissist’s anger subside or retreat. My husband was frighteningly cold, cruel and abusive.

Worse, the narcissist felt justified.

I deserved it because I started the war.

I told the narcissist I was miserably unhappy and lonely.

I understood I was married to a narcissist.

My husband was diagnosed as lacking empathy and having a narcissistic personality disorder. He was on the severe end of the spectrum.

I knew narcissism was an extreme and disturbing disorder.

I knew this.

Because I was married to a narcissist.


I did not understand divorce.

And I truly did not understand divorcing a narcissist.

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I had no idea that marriage to a narcissist was child’s play compared to divorcing a narcissist.

There was no negotiation during the divorce.

The narcissist bullied me as a reminder that he still controlled me. He punished me to make sure I paid the price for leaving him. He hurt our children to hurt me because I had started the war.

A five-year overly long abusive divorcing narcissistic war.

I should have been armed with a plan and an army of support.

Because no one should go into a war unprepared.

But I did.

I tell my story so no one else ever does.

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Colleen Sheehy Orme is a national relationship columnist, journalist, and former business columnist. She writes about love, life, relationships, family, parenting, divorce, and narcissism.