“I’ve filed 3 times now, but he’s always convinced me to stay. How do I go through with it?”
As both a fellow narcissistic abuse survivor and someone who helps others with their recovery, this question haunts me every time I hear it – and believe me, I hear it a lot.
You see, from the question alone, I can tell so much about the person who has asked it.
This is someone who is strong and confident, who has clarity, who sees and is willing to take a stand for the truth, who is courageous enough to rock the boat, who has hope for a better future.
AND this is someone who sees the best in people, who recognizes their potential, who gives others the benefit of the doubt, who treats others with respect and compassion.
This is the story of the ideal narcissist target. Is this your story?
If you’ve answered “yes,” you are not alone. In fact, you were targeted for qualities that make you less likely to leave. There is a reason that many relationships with covert narcissists last decades.
Is it your destiny to remain stuck in this loop of sneaky divorce tactics forever? No. Not if you do these five things.
When you are with anyone, and especially with a narcissist or other toxic person, actions speak louder than words. You know this to be true, yet our tendency is to believe the words.
It’s natural and so easy to want to believe the words, but the words are just that – words. Without action, they are meaningless, yet they keep a lot of good people stuck.
So often my clients focus on what they don’t want, yet when I ask what they want, they have no idea. This is kind of like putting “not here” into your GPS. It won’t actually take you anywhere.
If you don’t know what you want, it’s impossible to imagine the future. And when the going gets tough, it’s easier to stay stuck with what you know.
Imagine what your life will be like post-divorce. Put yourself in your future self’s shoes.
Now imagine what your life will look like if you stay.
If you find yourself fantasizing about an ideal future with your current partner, go back to step #1. Have their actions matched their words? Have they changed as promised? If the answer is “yes,” you wouldn’t be filing again, would you?
Without a plan, your desire to leave is a wish. A plan frees you to put the wheels in motion.
Once you’ve created a plan, it’s far easier to stay the course. You are prepared for whatever is thrown your way. Now you’re simply executing the plan.
The hoover is designed to derail your plans. It’s a trademark of narcissistic relationships.
A hoover is when your partner attempts to regain your attention and end the divorce proceedings. They do this for a few reasons:
In short, they want to have their cake and eat it, too. They want to continue to behave as they have without consequences. And they’ve convinced you to believe this is a good thing.
Whether they use attention, romantic messages, gifts, nice dinners, memories of good times, promises of a better future, or another love bombing tactic, they will use the ones that worked on you before. That is predictable.
Preparing for the hoover is part of the planning process. It allows you to execute your plan.
This one is hard.
Make a list of all the expectations you have – maybe have had for decades – that will not come true if you leave. Things like…
It can be amazing how much weight an expectation you created years, even decades ago, carries. The pull of these expectations make it hard to leave, yet these are just remnants of old dreams.
Your expectations can be changed.
You haven’t failed. You are not weak. Your previous attempts to leave were not wasted effort.
They were an opportunity to learn, to shore up any weak spots, to make a better plan. They were part of your healing journey.
You have all the strength, smarts, and savvy that you need. You’ve got this. For further assistance, contact Vasquez de Lara Law Group. Our experienced divorce lawyers are here to help you follow through with your divorce in the best way possible.