Let’s summarize Parts I and II as a review once the break-up or separation has occurred..
a) YOUR CHILDREN- The children shall be your driving force towards your recovery. How? Quite simple, if you don’t act upon yourself in healthy ways towards recovery, then what kind of environment do you believe you will provide for them? Taking care of your physical and mental self is paramount to the welfare of your children. As well, it is always my hopes that most children that come out of these dysfunctional relationships are young (6 or less). It is much easier when they are young and impressionable for them readjust without the dysfunction. If children are beyond the age of 10 and have been in the line of fire with a dysfunctional parent(s), then they are likely to acquire some of the bad characteristics and traits. This is not to say they will not change, however, it will be more difficult to help them change. Pay close attention to how your children react to you post break-up/divorce. Recognize the signs and learn to help them and not be frustrated or angry, instead devise ways to help them cope with their abusive parent. Remember too, you were a part of this dysfunction as well, so be culpable, and be understanding with the kids.
b) EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED FROM YOUR X- an acquaintance I’ve known for some time was in a long-term relationship (7 years) with an emotional and verbally abusive woman. He was a well thought of personality amongst his peers. Long story short, he fell prey to his X via a phone invitation to come over and see her post breakup. They had sex. His mind was reeling in confusion over what just transpired between them. He knew it was all a mistake, and left her place stating again that they could not continue this relationship. After he left, she wrecked her apartment, self-inflicted abrasions, and cuts upon herself, called the police and said she was raped. Semen samples, and a good theatrical performance landed him in jail, he now has a criminal record, cost him a fortune in legal fees, etc.. She literally brought his life as he knew it to an abrupt halt. Please, if there is a warning you must heed, especially when the break-up is recent, DO NOT BELIEVE YOU KNOW THEM SO WELL, BELIEVE NOTHING THEY SAY, AND MOST OF ALL, DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THEIR EGREGIOUS NATURE. The previously mentioned gentleman told me that, “in his wildest dreams, he never would have imagined her going to such a level to perjure herself, and to hurt him!
So, if there appears to be a valid reason between you and the X to meet, then have witnesses, one possibly two friends. Two is better. Advise the X that is the condition of your valid meeting. They will either not agree to the meeting (so who cares, right!) or they will moan and complain and still allow it to happen. Use the phone camera to show the meeting occurred with all parties present. Ask your friends to be prepared to run the video on their phone if adversity occurs on the X’s behalf. I believe everyone knows the acronym “CYA”,.. with Cluster B’s, you must always cover yourself.
c) REMAIN NO CONTACT OR LIMITED CONTACT- One must adhere to this policy when dealing with these emotional predators. This man I previously mentioned was weakened by his own emotions for this woman. She convincingly lured him in by virtue of his emotional weakness for her. When she didn’t get the result she wanted, she simply had to hurt him in some way. Whether you were married, short-term , long-term, man or woman, it doesn’t matter, do not underestimate the how extreme your abuser will relent to hurt you after the break-up. Usually the first 60 days are the worst. Typically NPD’s will have already found a potential supply by that time. They are much better behaved once a new supply is found, they are just the worst Cluster B to deal with during the relationship. All other Cluster B ‘s after a breakup, and post divorce will continue their antics but will not be as extreme as the first couple of months. Remember, they are not emotional from the heart, they are incapable of emoting love, kindness, empathy, etc. To take back control of your life and sever the relationship will only upset their putrid core. You will have summoned their demon of restitution, you are the perpetrator of all that has upset their ego, and that is unacceptable. You will have to pay a price, and this is why no-contact and limited contact is important.
d) EMOTIONAL MATURITY AND DISCIPLINE- This is the toughest of all, for you have lived with the traits and characteristics of an emotionally dysfunctional mate. You most likely experienced every emotion from A-Z with this person, and have become emotionally weakened. So, to speak of emotional maturity and discipline is asking a lot of someone who has been emotionally, verbally, or even physically abused. This is where we truly begin Part III.
A FRESH START..
So here you are, the madness ends and a new life begins. You have broken the chains that have bound you for so long. Even though you may be generally happy about this dissolution, there is still a void you will initially feel. There is no more emotional, verbal, or physical abuse and the crazy-making antics of your abuser no longer exist,..there is a calm in your life now.
People in marriages, or just dating that qualify as healthy personalities usually move on with their lives after the break-up, and are less adversarial or dramatic towards one another thereafter, i.e., they are emotionally mature. Victims of personality disordered individuals post break-up, emotional escape is not always so simple. First thing you will experience is that you now have extra time on your hands and it will be imperative for the formerly abused to utilize this time productively. Here are a few suggestions:
1) Take all pictures that have your X in them and store these pics where you would not have convenient access. If you have pics on a computer, download them to disk and then store them in the same manner. The less visualizations the easier on the mind, basically, “out of sight,out of mind.” Destroying photos and digital images is fine if you were not married to this individual. For those who were married, it’s best to keep photos for the children’s purposes later in life. Just store them somewhere protected and from easy access to you.
2) MAIL is opportunity for your former abuser, and it is widely used to maintain contact and harass you. Under no conditions allow yourself to be drawn into this trap of hand delivering mail or picking up your mail from them. If you are the one moving to a new residence, just ensure USPS has all the correct info to properly forward your mail. If you somehow get your X’s mail through the new address, simply write on the envelope “not resident of this address” and return through the postal system. Either way, if they have your mail or you have theirs, do your best to have it forwarded via USPS, because what you think is a kind gesture or having sincere intentions will turn out to be another opportunity for them to hurt you. Don’t take the chance.
3) Communication is only necessary for those that were in marriages/inter-personal relationships with children. If you were not married, and had no children then it is suggested to change your phone numbers(land line and cell), email addresses, and uphold the”no contact” rule. Contact with an X should only be limited to the children’s concerns and handled with care and maturity. Unfortunately, when there are children involved, the X will create so many unnecessary situations throughout the divorce proceedings and post divorce using the children as leverage. Examples would be their interpretations on custody, visitation, child support, and alimony if applicable. It will never completely go away. The good news is they will eventually find a new supply and that will most definitely take a good share of the attention off of you.
4) Postpone dating for a while. Typically after the breakup, there will be some unhealthy cynicism towards the opposite sex. Some formerly abused individuals walk away with a minimal amount of emotional baggage, others have emotional freight, as in ship-loads! Truly, it is not advisable to enter into dating until you take the opportunity to work on yourself first. Socializing is good, and there are so many ways to socialize. Get on the internet and see what’s happening in your area. I would highly suggest, especially in the beginning to stay away from the bars. Alcohol is a depressant and when one is emotionally recovering, that is something you don’t need right-away. The internet is full of sources for self-healing from such dysfunctional relationships. On this site, there is a 6 phase recovery program, although brief, it is powerful in that it taps into self deeply. There is no magic pill, and recovery will not happen overnight. It requires extreme discipline and that alone will take time. Every day is a day of progress if you put your heart, soul and mind into it. Have clarity about what you want and get your priorities in-line. The empty feeling should leave in 2 months or less. Realistically speaking, 6-8 months is about average for a healthy recovery. Some people recover well on the outside and still carry the hurt inside, they are guarded and protective of their heart. Let me just say this, no matter who you choose as your next mate, there is ALWAYS risk. However, without risk, there is no reward. If you go into a relationship understanding risks and rewards then you have matured, for this is a reality of life. Keep in mind, your new mate takes the same risk with you.
Socializing, being physically active, making certain lifestyle changes like eating healthy, acquire new hobbies, etc. Simply put, have clarity about what is important in your life and why. It’s not such a long journey really, and time does manifest healing if you put positive energy into it.
When you begin to feel comfortable about yourself and wish to begin dating, please do one thing of great importance to your future relationship. Redefine what love is to you. In many cases where healthy personalities fall into the clutches of a Cluster B mate, the only tie the victim believed they had to their abuser was love. Let me assure you the emotion you felt was not one of love. Love did not exist, because you believed that love was the only thing in the relationship that could bring some form of solace to your heart and mind. Believe it or not, your abuser created this facade of love for you to live within. Scary but true! Now that we understand many of red-flags and what not to do, doesn’t necessarily mean we have truly defined love. This is a subject you can also find much information on the internet, and there is too much to discuss in this post about love itself so study love with great diligence. It may surprise you.
One of the biggest mistakes most victims make when dating again is they talk too much about the X relationship. This will indeed end up in disappointment for both parties, therefore, non-productive towards the recovery process. For the most part, everyone who dates are curious about the other’s X relationship(s), Invariably, they always ask “what happened?” More times than not it opens up an emotional “can of worms” so it is important to minimize/eliminate any depreciation or hatred for the X. The best impression one can make when dating is to show emotional maturity. Look at your replies as being a way to test your emotional maturity, your self-control. By pass the X subject by showing genuine interest in your new prospect in all aspects.. If you really want to get down to someones personality, talk about their family. Seek out how they interact with all their immediate family, primarily mother and father, guardian, etc. They are the basis where the bad characteristics and traits begin. Siblings and children would be your next interest. Be fair and open, but pay close attention to what they say. As well, don’t try to be someone’s rescuer if they are having emotional or financial problems. It’s a probable red-flag! Remember this with the utmost importance, each and every person you date is “not your X!” Again be fair, do not tie a simple habit(s), use of words, etc. as a reason to “run for the hills.” You are looking for something deeper than trivial idiosyncrasies, we all have them for no one is perfect. You are looking at traits and characteristics you can live with or not. Date casually without commitments in the beginning, and if it was meant to be, it will come back full circle.
This is also another mistake men and women alike make when dating, they tend to engage in adversity, just like old times with the Cluster B. If you happen to begin responding towards another negatively, DO NOT JUSTIFY YOUR ACTIONS, it’s wrong, you know it, suck it up and be mature. Now, if your new prospect decides to be verbally aggressive you simply stop, take a deep cleansing breath, and think before you speak. Decide what it is your prospect is trying to say, if some action you took initiated their response. Maybe it reminded them of their mother, father, X husband or boyfriend. Simply put, be the wiser person, and if it goes nowhere, then move on. There are plenty of dating prospects available.
In summary, the primary goal of each and every aforementioned action is the total betterment of your personal self in order to enjoy and benefit in your new life with your children and a future mate. Self must always be the priority in recovery cases, as it will serve to manifest the life you deserve. Your family and friends will benefit as well. Your comments or questions are welcome.