Exploring your new-found freedom from the dysfunctional relationship can be filled with anticipation and excitement. Likewise, it can be filled with frustration, confusion, cynicism, ,and you’ll feel like you’re back on an emotional roller coaster! What you are experiencing is a different sort of emotional struggle, i.e., remaining low self-esteem, poor physical health, hatred, unsuccessful dating and dating fear, level of cynicism towards the opposite sex is most likely at an unhealthy levels, etc. So the basis of this article is to guide you though the realities of what to expect from yourself and your abuser post dissolution.
In the beginning.. “THE X”
By now you understand that your former spouse/ significant other’s personality disorder is a life long condition and will typically get worse as they age. If you were fortunate enough to escape without children involved, then the necessity to utilize coping skills will be very temporary, because you truly have nothing that binds or commits one another. Exceptions would be joint ownership of assets in an LTR Vs a Marriage. Comparatively speaking, where post-dissolutions of marriage between two healthy personalities can work through issues, the unhealthy, high conflict personalities post dissolution always tend to remain in never-ending drama. This is due in part to the healthy personality not establishing solid boundaries from their former abuser. As there is usually a healthy personality involved in such dysfunctional former relationships, then it’s a matter of emotional discipline, emotional maturity, and learning coping skills. As the former victim/abused, you must learn to be disciplined for the sake of your future happiness. One of the main reasons why one becomes a victim of abuse is a lack of discipline where it concerns relationship boundaries. A person may recognize some of the relationship dysfunction early on, however, tends to ignore the traits and characteristics of their mate. In essence, they are ignoring the boundaries that should have served them in the first place. Giving these emotional predators any “benefit of doubt” or “forgiveness” is like giving them the rope to hang their victims. They prey on individuals that are forgiving, emotionally sound, and are romantics. It’s like “shooting fish in a Barrel” to them.
We’ve established that a former high conflict relationship without children, or investments is rather basic, you simply go “no contact.” This is not to say that it will be a “cake walk” in the beginning, because it will still require discipline. Everything still applies so pay close attention to detail. Here is the scary part, it doesn’t matter if the relationship was for months or years, your abuser believes they will always “own” you, that they will always have control over you, till death do you part! Their arrogance precedes them and believe all that they considered close to them during their lifetime can still be manipulated despite time.
All the perceptions and attitudes when one is in the abusive relationship MUST CHANGE in order to detach from the abuser. In other words, what you thought and believed then most likely has been weakened therefore, you will have to develop new and stronger patterns of thinking in order to successfully detach.
So many times after such a relationship is over, we tend to open our “emotional door” once more and the madness begins once again. This enables your abuser rather than disarming them. The intent may have been good, and they may have given you a convincing or plausible story unrelated to the relationship in order to communicate with you. Giving the abuser a one inch crack in that emotional door is most certainly a mistake for they will take any opening that allows them to hurt you. Remember this too, successfully detaching will not eliminate their behavior,because their dysfunctional traits and characteristics are virtually cast in stone. They will not change. So the importance of being disciplined in forming new perceptions, and attitudes towards the former abuser will serve in protecting all that is meaningful in your life. Sticking to your guns will initially piss off your abuser, so expect some new craziness to happen. Believe me, they will be digging deep into their “Bag of Tricks” to overcome their perceived perpetrator. Keep this in mind, they are capable of unimaginable and egregious behavior because your initiative of no contact has upset the very core of their being. Their nastiness can range from simple verbal attacks to being downright destructive. Do not underestimate them and be prepared for anything despite how well you think you may know them.
What the complete detachment and no contact process will create is and “out of sight, out of mind” condition whereby pattens of behavior will change if appropriate measures of action are solid on behalf of the healthy personality involved. Otherwise, it can continue to be a “hell on earth.” Yes, it is up to you, because you must remember, they will never change!
If you were in a relationship with an NPD, most likely they will move on much more quickly than a BPD. NPD’s are more hurtful and damaging during a relationship Vs the BPD, however, the BPD tends to continue their madness after the fact. BPD’s, Histrionic’s, Bipolar’s, have a variation in presence of conscience and emotion, therefore they struggle between reality and their perceived world. Whereas, the NPD has no presence of conscience, hence their ability to move on and seek a new victim or supply.
In summary, expect some continued craziness in the beginning of a break up, given time though, it will subside to a more manageable level. Do not engage or provoke your former abuser in any way, you are now in control, not them. Truth and reality are your abuser’s enemies because it sends their egocentric core reeling out of control, so stick to less emotional situations and resolves.
This is one of the most important aspects of your abuser that you must remind yourself of each time they speak, “they are masters of manipulation for the sake of self, not you, and not the children.” Be disciplined in mind and heart to understand, your former abuser cares about no one but themselves. Remember too, just when you think you’ve got them figured out, they throw a little deception, manipulation, a lie or two, and you are now pissed off! Amazing how easy they get you right where they want you! Do not allow them to engage you this way, you are the better person, shame on them for doing this to you, and next time you will be a little smarter, right! Life is too short to allow others drama and dysfunction to affect those they don’t deserve to be with in the first place. Always put your “thinking cap” on and make sound judgments when communication with your former abuser is necessary.
In my next post, we will talk about more strategies and coping skills to enable you in dealing with the likes of such dysfunctional individuals. In the meantime, no contact is your most viable boundary that can be initially implemented. There are other boundaries that must be set as well and I will provide suggestions where it concerns such personal boundaries.