Women Winning Divorce with Heather B. Quick, Esq.

Being Married to a Narcissist

Episode Summary

In this episode of Women Winning Divorce, Heather discusses what it is like being married to a narcissist. Being married to a narcissist includes specific patterns of behavior and challenges that are difficult to overcome.

Episode Notes

"Women Winning Divorce" is a radio show and podcast hosted by Heather Quick, CEO and Owner of Florida Women's Law Group. Each week we focus on different aspects of family law to help guide women through the difficult and emotional legal challenges they are facing. Heather brings over 20 years of law experience that advocates and empowers women to achieve happier and healthier lives. Join Heather each week as she discusses family law issues including divorce, custody, alimony, paternity, narcissism, mediation and more.  

 

This program was created to provide tips and insight to women with family law issues. It is not intended to be legal advice because every situation is different.  

 

Visit us at https://www.womenwinningdivorce.com/ for more resources.

Text us at 904-944-6800 for a copy of Heather's Top 5 Divorce Tips.  

 

If you have questions or a topic you would like Heather to cover, email us at  marketing@4womenlaw.com

Episode Transcription

Women Winning Divorce

Episode 19

Married to a Narcissist

 

Julie Morgan:

Welcome to Women Winning Divorce with your host, Heather Quick. Heather brings over 20 years of law experience that advocates and empowers women to achieve happier and healthier lives. Each week, we provide knowledge and guidance on different aspects of family law to help lead women through the difficult and emotional legal challenges that they are facing. Listen in as she discusses issues including divorce, custody, alimony, paternity, narcissism, mediation, and other family law issues to provide insight on the journey of women winning divorce. Welcome to the show. I'm Julie Morgan, and I'm joined by your host, Heather Quick. Hi, Heather, how are you?

Heather Quick:

I'm doing great, Julie. How are you today?

Julie Morgan:

I'm doing very well. We're continuing on this same topic that we have for the past couple of weeks because we need to. Narcissism.

Heather Quick:

Yes.

Julie Morgan:

Being married to a narcissist. After we've talked about all of this and some of the experiences that people have when they're dealing with narcissists, I can only imagine that it leaves people with just some scars emotionally, mentally, possibly physically. I mean, all around really.

Heather Quick:

Oh, absolutely. Because this is a psychological disorder. There's a lot of traits and just as we were talking prior to starting this show, it's like an iceberg. There's alot underneath. There are some things maybe we recognize in other people, but this is a serious disorder and has such an extreme effect that, yes, if you're in a relationship and recovering from a relationship with this, that's what you need to do. Recover, heal yourself, understand that you were in an extremely toxic, dysfunctional relationship and those scars and that relationship, the things that you've been through, deserve time to be healed and to give yourself that opportunity to really understand narcissism.We are never going to understand why somebody would treat you like this.

So, to me, that's a lot of lost energy. We can't control other people. That's the thing, narcissists think they can. Because we can't, they use all these deceptive maneuvers. You can control how you show up and how you respond. I mean, if you've been in this and been through it, at least learn something from it about yourself to help yourself, your friends, your family moving forward.

Julie Morgan:

Yeah. Because it's confusing. We talked about the isolation. It's just a toxic environment, so understanding how you got there is really important.

Heather Quick:

I think so. You may learn some things about yourself that you're like, "Oh, I don't like that. I don't like that about myself." That's okay, we all have that. It's more really understanding that if you have been in this kind of relationship or are in this kind of relationship, it didn't happen overnight.  It's going to take some time to get out of it and to heal from it. Give yourself some grace and recognizing that it's really important to heal yourself because it's going to leave you with serious emotional scars.

Julie Morgan:

When we think about the wife of a narcissist, does she feel like an equal in the marriage?

Heather Quick:

Usually not. The narcissist has this need to have all of the attention, all of the praise, to be the end all be all. So, you kind of feel like, "What's my place? Do I have value?" Again, no, they want you to feel that way. You may feel very unimportant, somewhat invisible, certainly unheard. You're not really in a position of power in the relationship. That's really a good example because it's like, okay, well, if we're in a relationship and married that's supposed to be a togetherness and it shouldn't be one has power over another. But it's so toxic that, yes, you feel pretty unimportant and powerless in a lot of ways.

Julie Morgan:

Because they like the sound of their own voice, so they don't want your input on anything.

Heather Quick:

No, they're not interested in your feelings because then that means your feelings will be more important than theirs. I can think of an example where if you're feeling some way and you try to share that, they're going to make that negative for them. Like I said, it's so dysfunctional and not normal, but when you're in it, it makes it very difficult to see another side.

Julie Morgan:

You feel like you have no value.

Heather Quick:

Correct. Unless they want you to feel value. But basically, that's because they're getting something out of that.

Julie Morgan:

It also seems like a very unsafe place if that makes sense.

Heather Quick:

Absolutely. Because there's not a sense of value, importance, and you don't feel equal in the relationship so that makes you feel uneasy. Then that creates this desire to please because then that makes you feel safe. If he's happy, I feel better.  But that's just that whole manipulation that we talked about before and control, because now your behavior is really linked to how he's going to treat you.

Julie Morgan:

And that's really feeding this. It's constantly feeding this.

Heather Quick:

Yes, it’s just a constant pressure to say the right thing, do the right thing, have things just the way he wants it. If he decides to come in and be, whatever, angry or not even speak to you, think about how crazy that would be. The house is perfectly clean. I'm all ready and dressed. This is an example. You've been at home or whatever and gone and worked out and he gets home from work and says, "I've been working hard all day and I come home, and you're not even showered and dressed and you're going to look bad all day?" I mean, it can make you feel bad when you're like, "Well, I worked out. I'm being healthy."

"And then what about dinner? You're not going to cook anything.?" You feel very unsafe and insecure. You're like, "Wow, okay. Now what do I have to do? I have to try to jump through all these hoops." Then he could come home, and you're all done up and the way you think he wants you, what he said the day before. Dinner's ready, whatever. And then he's like, "Yeah, I'm not hungry." And not even flatter you. So now you're really in a tailspin. So, you clearly would feel very insecure. I mean, most people would because this is on and on and on.

Julie Morgan:

Or he may say, "You look like a slob today." I'm like, "I just worked out. What do you mean? Yesterday, I'm trying to." Wow.

Heather Quick:

Right, so not only is it this intense pressure to keep him happy and meet his expectations, but they're not realistic expectations. Because it's this perfect scenario, but he's always changing it because he wants to be in charge of the rules. He may be saying, "Well, you should work out more." But then he's like, "Well, why didn't you make yourself look better. Where's dinner?" Things like that. It keeps you really on eggshells. You don't know. Is this right? Is that right? Because even if he tells you one way or another. "You said you wanted dinner." "I didn't say that. I told you we were going out." Again, that's that whole gaslighting. Totally. You just don't really know. It's a tailspin.

Julie Morgan:

Based on all of that, I'm depressed. I'm confused. My self-esteem is just low. You're giving me anxiety because you're going back and forth.

Heather Quick:

Correct, when you feel all those things, it's very even hard for you to make a decision or to see clearly the toxicity.  The nature of being in this kind of relationship is you're thinking everything is all your fault.  You can't clearly see that he is creating so much of this and the only way to stop feeling this way or to break this pattern is by getting out. It’s hard to see that. It takes time.

Julie Morgan:

You really need someone's help probably to see it, which goes back to the isolation. He's isolated you so you don't have anyone around, so you may not have the help you need.

Heather Quick:

You don't. You don't have that support group because you've become more isolated and probably somewhere along the way, they've said something about him. He's made you believe they don't like him, so you're not going to share that you feel this way and that is by design. That's part of that manipulation, isolation because part of me is like, 'They're going to tell me I told you so and they were right, but now what are they going to do? What are they going to say and what if I don't leave?”  You just feel so alone.

Julie Morgan:

You've probably gotten rid of all the things that you like to do.

Heather Quick:

Yes, now everything is about what he likes to do or what he thinks I should do.

Julie Morgan:

Which, again, goes back to the isolation.

Heather Quick:

Yep.

Julie Morgan:

So the wife, she eventually becomes a totally different person because with all of this mental and emotional abuse, you really can't help it.

Heather Quick:

You were probably very different when you were dating him, before you got married.  Over time, you now, once a strong and confident woman, you're anxious, you feel weak, you feel powerless. You don't even know really who you were back then. You probably don't even recognize yourself or you can't even recognize who you used to be. Because you're like, "I'm not even that person anymore. I don't look at myself that way. I don't look at anything that way. I feel so down, so depressed, confused.” All of those things really that make it very difficult for you to take action because you're not thinking in the way that you used to. Your life has been so turned upside down. You feel so dependent and so unsure of yourself that even the thought of leaving you're like, "But where's that thought coming from? Is that even right?" Because you just doubt yourself constantly.

Julie Morgan:

You probably can't even formulate that thought.

Heather Quick:

No, many times, to even begin to see that or have the clarity, is many times we, as women, will do for someone else what we won't do for ourselves. If we then can see it through the lens of our children, we really will then take action to where maybe before, when she thought, "Hey, I'm just doing this for myself to leave or whatever" they won't. Typically, something really big, a major event in life may happen, something really happens to where you're like, "I am not doing this anymore." For example, this is extreme, but this is an example of the kind of sometimes extreme it takes. Your best friend or family member may be dying or passing away.  You want to go and be with them, but he says, "No, we have an event. You can't go." You finally feel like, "Are you crazy?" I really believe that there's something that happens that allows that woman to say, "You know what? I need help. I may not know how to do it or what to do, but I have to go talk to somebody, whether that is a therapist, a divorce attorney, or a friend I haven't talked to in 10 years. I've got to talk to somebody because I can see that this isn't right."

Julie Morgan:

A major event that makes this light bulb go off really.

Heather Quick:

Yes.

Julie Morgan:

You're listening to Women Winning Divorce with Heather Quick, owner and attorney for Florida Women's Law Group. We're taking a quick break here and when we return, we're going to talk about what to expect when married to a narcissist. Stay with us.

Julie Morgan:

Welcome back to Women Winning Divorce with Heather Quick, owner and attorney for Florida Women's Law Group. So, Heather, what is it like to be married to a narcissist? What can the wife expect?

Heather Quick:

It's always going to be about him all the time. They're going to make the decisions. They're not going to listen to your input or wants.  They might make you think that they are, but really through that manipulation, they're going to make you think that you like to do what they want to do. They're going to decide all vacations, where you're going to go to holidays, what family you are going to see or not going to see. Again, part of that isolation. It is to the extreme, you almost think that you do want to do this stuff, but what you're trying to do is keep the peace. So, yeah, I'm going to do that because that's what he wants.

Sometimes they will totally ruin special events. Because they always have to be the center of attention and if they don't like the way something's going, they're like, "I'm not going. I'm not doing that." You're embarrassed, you don't know how to act. It's almost as if it's a toddler just having a tantrum and you have to manage this person. But this is a grown person and they're not going to have the tantrum out in front of other people. Just with you. So you got to go claim it all.

Julie Morgan:

Yeah. Because they want other people to feel like they're perfect.

Heather Quick:

Correct. That’s the worst behavior that they only do with you and nobody else sees. That's why it is so frustrating to this woman because everybody else thinks they're the greatest thing since sliced bread and they're not. They treat you all like crap at home and manipulate you and do awful things, but out and about, everybody loves this person because they're so jovial. They're so funny. Talking all the time. They have great stories, great jokes.

Julie Morgan:

Yeah. But you're not that great. Not that great at all. No.

Heather Quick:

No.

Julie Morgan:
Something you mentioned as far as isolating you from family and friends. So basically, if he doesn't like that person, I'm not going to see them.

Heather Quick:

Correct, it'll be too hard to have a relationship with them. You're not going to make that argument. You may do it a few times, but it's not worth it. It's not worth it, if you were to do that.

Julie Morgan:

It's probably someone who has the strength to see what they're doing.

Heather Quick:

Correct, it's just, again, it's somebody they don't have influence over talking to their spouse and they don't want that.

Julie Morgan:

What about conflicts? Conflicts happen in any relationship, but what is that like?

Heather Quick:

There's always going to be conflict because the narcissist never admits fault. They will always blame you for everything. That's part of where you lose yourself because you're going to do everything you can to avoid conflict, but they still will bring it into the house. Again, that's part of the pathology. You would think, okay, well, if everybody is kowtowing to him and really like, "Oh, you're the best. You're the greatest." Doing everything he wants, that he'd be happy and that would be what he wants.

But, no, he has to stir it up and keep people guessing or whatever.  They're such an egomaniac and so obsessed with themselves.  "No, I think I want them to feel bad about something. If they're happy because I'm happy, well, I need to make them unhappy and they need to know it's their fault." It doesn't make sense. I know it doesn't make sense. There's a lot of things we can talk about, but it's not logical at all to treat people like that or create these situations. It's not. It's not normal.

Julie Morgan:

It goes back to something else you said. You're walking on eggshells.

Heather Quick:

Yes, and it is just very uncomfortable to be in that kind of relationship.  You never know are they going to be nice today? Did they have a good day, or did they just feel like being nice? Do they feel like being a jerk? You just don't know and it's no way that anybody should live.

Julie Morgan:

You are constantly trying to make sure that you don't get the angry person or the silent person.

Heather Quick:

That's how you start feeling crazy because you're like, "Wait, I can't control how they feel." But yet you start to think that it's based on your behavior.  It's not, which then even makes you feel more crazy because you're like, "Well, I thought they wanted things this way." Nope. Now they're mad at this. Now they're mad about that. I don't ever know what to do. You are just trying to appease them and please them is what you’re doing and probably the kids, but the kids are probably at a point where they're like, "Okay, we're going to avoid this situation."

Julie Morgan:

That's interesting what you just said about the children, which is a shame because you shouldn't have that type of relationship with your father.

Heather Quick:

No, or in any household. But that's the way it is, and I would say, as that spouse, you're going to start to see the kids modeling that behavior, modeling your behavior in your response to your narcissistic husband or them modeling his behavior. 

Julie Morgan:

One or the other.

Heather Quick:

That's what happens. We've talked about it. You learn everything from your family of origin. That's how you learn to be a human. That's how you learn to interact. You learn from watching the people you live with and if it's really toxic or dysfunctional, unless you then learn to do things differently, that's your fallback. If they're yellers and screamers and fighting, that's the way you learn versus not. If you learn to treat people this way, you see that and you model it.

I think that's just facts and it's just the way it is. That's life. That's how we learn. So, you're in this situation and that was kind of part of what I was saying for a spouse is, if you're in it, don't think it's not affecting everybody else. Don't think you're the only one because if you’ve got kids in that house, or even if they're grown, it has affected them and it is affecting them.

Julie Morgan:

It seems like we've talked about the fact that it's very difficult to leave any situation no matter what's going on, but this is a reason to think about packing up, if need be.

Heather Quick:

Indeed. Yes.

Julie Morgan:

Because what will happen to the children? 

Heather Quick:

The reality is You're not leaving that can be another fear. He'll tell you, "Well, the kids are staying with me. " Then he'll do all kinds of manipulation on them, but that fear, that's happening already. You think you're protecting them or insulating them from that. You're not. I mean, they're in it. They know it. The best thing you can do is show them how to be strong, get out, and get help with how to cope with it and then get them that type of support as well. Because if that's their father, they need to understand and be able to cope with that personality.

Julie Morgan:

Oh, Heather, I just thought back to time sharing and you have to share time with this person, if you know what I mean?

Heather Quick:

Yeah.

Julie Morgan:

Something you mentioned before in that episode of time sharing. Again, you guys can go to the website, womenwinningdivorce.com, to listen. You can't keep the children from the parent for either parent. You can't. If the judge says, "This is how it's going to work", this is how it's going to work. But you are sharing time with a narcissist.

Heather Quick:

And that's going to be a whole other episode. Let me tell you. So we'll have to dive into that for sure. At least learning this and doing what you can now, because you married them or you had children with them and they have rights to be with their kids, even if they are a narcissist and all that. So that's something you have to come to grips with and that's okay.

If you can be strong and get out of this type relationship, you can be an example to your children and get them the support that they need. But most likely, I mean my two cents on that, he'll go find another woman. I mean, it's not that he will abandon his kids, but he works better in a romantic relationship, and he'll find somebody else.

Julie Morgan:

Okay. You did just bring up a topic for a whole other show. That's interesting. Oh boy. Okay. All right. So go back because I kind of got off topic there. You completely, you just lose yourself totally because you really don't know where else to go at this point.

Heather Quick:

Yes. Your focus has been so much on your spouse, who is a narcissist, you've had no one really loving you or caring about you. You're in a relationship, but you're not in a relationship, it’s very one-sided.  You most likely have no other relationships, meaning no friendships, very limited familial relationships, to the extent where you can’t really open up to them. Hopefully, if you have children, you have that relationship, but they're your children, so it's not the same. So you've stopped caring about yourself as well.

Julie Morgan:

Yeah. You feel beaten down.

Heather Quick:

Yeah. Indeed. Because you have been. You really have been. Emotionally, mentally.

Julie Morgan:

So you are no longer important to you and that's the way they want you to feel.

Heather Quick:

Absolutely. Yes.

Julie Morgan:

Because they are the most important thing.

Heather Quick:

Right.

Julie Morgan:

Yeah. This really goes back to you need help to get out of this. You need that mental health professional to help pull you out of this because this is deep.

Heather Quick:

Oh, it is. Most women will be quite depressed and clinically and sometimes it's with medication and therapy, it's not forever, but you're in a situation that you cannot heal when you remain there. You have to get help. That mental health and get the distance and get some peace. That provides a place for you to heal. And most women, once they're out of that situation, they can really see it for what it is.

Because when you're in it, we've talked about this before, when you're in it, you're in it. It's very hard to see it. So easy for those of us who are outside a situation, in any situation, to see because we are more objective.  But if it's my own problem, "Oh, I didn't see that." Because you have blinders on and you're living it and, therefore, once you get removed, the peace from being away you can see clearer. So many women will tell us that now there's just peace in their home because they didn't have that before.

Julie Morgan:

Peace really is priceless.

Heather Quick:

It is, when you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you're married to one, you're lonely. And when you're alone, you're not lonely. It's different. You can just be like, "Oh, I can be alone, but yet I don't feel lonely." Because when you live in a house with somebody who ignores you and treats you this way, it's so lonely, so lonely.

Julie Morgan:

You're listening to Women Winning Divorce with Heather Quick, owner and attorney for Florida Women's Law Group. We're taking a break here and when we return, we're talking about the double standard of a narcissist. Stay with us. Welcome back to Women Winning Divorce with Heather Quick, owner and attorney for Florida Women's Law Group. Double standards of a narcissist. Oh, I can only imagine there's a lot of these, right?

Heather Quick:

Oh, you know it. You know there are because rules? What rules? That's the way the narcissist looks at it. You can imagine. Their wife, well, they have a lot of rules. So clearly just a double standard all the way around on every issue.

Julie Morgan:

Now this goes back to financial abuse. Okay. When it comes to money, what's the double standard there?

Heather Quick:

I would say the best example is you're going to have to ask for permission to buy something or spend money.  However, they're going to buy whatever they want and they're not going to let you know or whatever. They’ll come home with a brand-new car and you're like, "I'm driving a 1990 something Chevy and you just came home in a brand-new Mercedes." But that's the way it goes. He’ll say, "Well, that's a better car for you and the kids, and I've got to take people out to work and, of course, I want to take you out in this nice car." But it's not about you. Now, they could go buy you a nice car, but then they would take it away, maybe. If you don't do what they like, then I'm going to drive it. You know? And just, again, all areas of control. Maybe "Oh, I'm going to flatter you, so here I'm going to bring home this new car." But then the next week's, "Oh, no, no, I had to sell it. You spent too much at the store today or something like that." It's that sick. It's that crazy. I know, I know you're shaking your head, girl, but I'm telling you it's the truth.

Julie Morgan:

Heather. No, no, ma'am. No, that doesn't happen. That doesn't happen. Please tell me that does not happen.

Heather Quick:

It does. So much happens especially with money as we've discussed and there's other episodes. That is one of the, I hate to say, easiest, but money is an easy way to control a spouse. It takes a lot of effort and pathology to do mind control on somebody, we've talked about that and exert this mental and emotional control over somebody. I mean, you've got to be pretty dysfunctional to put that energy in on it. But the finances are one of the easier ways to do that early on.

Julie Morgan:

That's interesting. I never thought about that, but yeah. Okay. Another thing. We talked about this mind control. The simplest thing. "You left all the lights on in the house." But they could kind of project and say that you're cheating, but they're actually cheating.

Heather Quick:

Oh, yeah, all the time. They are the most jealous individuals and they're going to accuse you of cheating, stepping out on the marriage. "Who did you flirt with? Who did you talk to?" When, in fact, they're the ones who probably are more likely to be cheating. They want you to behave a certain way and be sociable and dress a certain way, but then they're going to say, "Why did you do that? You're dressed like a floozy or whatever." When they wanted you to wear it.   That, again, is that whole mind control. It's, "You bought me the dress. You told me it looked great. You wanted me to wear it out. Now I'm just talking to somebody and suddenly I'm a slut."

Julie Morgan:

That's exactly, I was just about to say that. They possibly bought the dress. "Oh, I have a surprise for you. And don't you love this dress?" "Oh, I love it." You wear it. "You were flirting with him, weren't you? That's the only reason you wore that dress." That's crazy.

Heather Quick:

Exactly, those kinds of things happen all the time.

Julie Morgan:

No. Heather, I'm shaking my head no and I'm saying no. I believe you, but I don't want to believe you.

Heather Quick:

Well, I know you're thinking, one, how does one human being really treat another like this that they supposedly love. And then you're thinking, "How are these women... How do they find themselves in this situation and put up with it?" But we've talked about that, as to how they get there. That's what makes it so sad to see. You can imagine, Julie, they're not going to be friends with you anymore. He is going to make sure that she is not hanging out with Julie because Julie's going to say, "Uh-uh (negative), no, girl. This is not right. You have to leave." So that's why. He doesn’t want his wife hanging out with friends like you.

Julie Morgan:

Yep. I'm going to say, "You need to listen to this podcast that I heard about."

Heather Quick:

There you go. There you go.

Julie Morgan:

They're also more likely to call you selfish, to call you the things that they really are.

Heather Quick:

Exactly. Selfish, manipulative, drama queen. "You're crazy. You're dramatic." Everything. "You're overreacting to everything." You start to wonder, "Am I overreacting? I think he's the one who's overacting." But eventually you're not even going to question what he says because he's so in your head. You've just lost that sense that is within you, in your gut, your instincts to be like, "I am not the one who is creating these scenarios. I'm not in the wrong."

It just takes a while to get there. You may start there and then you just stop even trying to question him or argue about it until you can finally be like, "All right, I have to do something." Maybe, hopefully, maybe they're listening to this podcast and then they know they're not alone because how else would we know all this? So many women are in these kinds of relationships. It's true. I mean, my mom, that was one of her husbands. This person exactly. I know exactly the way they work and manipulate.

Julie Morgan:

Yeah. That's also important to continue to note. You are not alone in this, you are not alone. Yeah. Does the narcissist pull their weight at home?

Heather Quick:

No, very rarely not, unless it would be something that would give them attention, but usually, no. You're in charge of the kids. You're in charge of keeping things clean and cooking or whatever. Now, maybe everybody comes over and then he's like, "Ah, the grill." They're now getting attention and everybody's saying how great they are, but usually that would be a no on the day-to-day. They're going to give you little credit. They're going to criticize everything that you do. "You can't cook. You're so filthy. Why isn't this house clean?" But they're not going to do anything. Again, all about control and belittling you, making them feel better and more important.

Julie Morgan:

You can't cook, but you just followed a recipe from Martha Stewart. The house is filthy, but you just cleaned it.

Heather Quick:

Right. But, again, he has these totally unrealistic standards, these things that just don't make sense.  No one can really meet his standards and it's always changing. That’s the thing, that you never know, "What should I be doing today?" 

Julie Morgan:

Yeah, that's another point. Constantly changing. You don't know where the goalpost is.

Heather Quick:

Exactly. Yeah. Right.

Julie Morgan:

Wow. So, if I have any weaknesses, which I mean, I'm human, so obviously I do, they're going to use that against me.

Heather Quick:

Yes and things that you've told them. This would be something that... Say you had a disagreement with your parents or sisters and you shared that at one point. They're going to bring that back and, "Remember, you know how they treated you. You can't trust them. They did this to you. They did that to you." Or you were in a bad relationship, and you've shared with them. "See, you're such a loser. You dated that guy and you couldn't even do anything right there. You can't do anything right here." Then the things that, if you have shared with them, certainly anything you're really vulnerable about, oh, they will expose that and really make you feel even worse about it.

Julie Morgan:

If you mentioned an argument that you had with your sister, your mother, whoever, that's also a way to isolate you even more, if they bring that up again.

Heather Quick:

Absolutely and they will bring it up with you. At the same time if they feel like it suits their purposes in front of your family as a way of defending you, but really they’re driving more of a rift. Your family doesn't want to be around him and you're siding with him and now he's kind of making it seem that he's saving you from the way they've treated you. Particularly in families, because we all have our feelings, and you know your family. I think you see that where your family doesn’t want to make it worse for you either. If you're distancing yourself, there's only so much they can do. Not in every case, but in the majority, you're certainly not going to be as close. That is certainly by design. The narcissist does not want you to know that you've got a place to go. You've got people who have your back. You have somewhere to go.

I've met, certainly, over the many, many years of all the things I've done and throughout the law, there are some people that feel like they have nowhere to go or they don’t know what to do. He does that intentionally because if you have family and close ties, he's really going to work really hard to destroy them. You're not going to notice it. You're not going to see it for what it is until later. But to really try to create that feeling where you don't have anyone. He really wants you to feel alone and that you don't have a place to go so you have to stay here with him.

Julie Morgan:

What a rough place to be, I tell you. And they're not going to go to marriage counseling probably.

Heather Quick:

No. Now they fight because there's so much wrong with you that, "Okay, if you'll go get help." Maybe most of the time they're like, "You're the one who needs help so you go get help." Or they'll do it from a manipulative, "Oh, sure. I'll go." But they're not going to really engage and they want to fire the therapist by session three because they're going to get called out. Any therapist, they're not going to be fooled. They're going to get it. They're going to recognize that behavior. They're going to tell them things they don't want to hear. And they're like, "I'm not going back" or "Well, we can go to another one. Let's go to another one." Because, again, they're manipulating the situation, stringing you along. Controlling it, making you continue to jump through these various hoops.

Julie Morgan:

This is exhausting.

Heather Quick:

Yes, and we're just talking about it. I mean, we're talking about it in-depth, but can you imagine living it how exhausting that would be?

Julie Morgan:

And overwhelming.

Heather Quick:

And I think overwhelming doesn't even begin to cover the way that these women feel. They're exhausted. They're overwhelmed. To the extent that even the energy, the mental energy that it's going to take to imagine leaving, is a lot.

Julie Morgan:

We've talked about all of this. I've got to ask, and I have a feeling I know the answer to this, will they ever change?

Heather Quick:

It is very unlikely. It depends how far on the range they are, but most likely not because they truly have a distorted view of reality, and they are not wrong. I can't even imagine what it would take to make them think that they are at fault. They just live in their own world. Totally different reality. That reality does not include that they have fault. So, when you don't think anything's wrong, then why would you change?

Julie Morgan:

Yeah. If you think everything is perfect, there's no reason to change

Heather Quick:

If you're not perfect, then he's like, "All right, I'm done with you. You're the one that needs to change, but not me. It's not me."

Julie Morgan:

Yeah.

Heather Quick:

That whole thing. It's me, not you, or whatever. But either way, it's not. They will not take responsibility for their behavior or see a need to change it in any way.

Julie Morgan:

Heather, anything else you want to add on this topic?

Heather Quick:

Really the same thing I say at the end of every show, but this one so much is to let women know you're not alone, and we do understand. We really understand this situation, and if you are looking for a way out or to understand what your options would be, you can certainly call our office, Florida Women's Law Group. Reach out to us and we can always connect you with therapists and many resources to begin the process to heal yourself and remove yourself from this situation.

Julie Morgan:

I like the way you've talked about it before. This really is a layered process. It's not only about, "Hey, okay, going in, getting the divorce." But you have someone there that can really help in different ways.

Heather Quick:

Yes.

Julie Morgan:

Well, Heather, we've come to the end. It was good to see you again.

Heather Quick:

Wonderful to see you again, Julie. Thank you so much. I'm certain this will be very helpful to so many women.

Julie Morgan:

Absolutely. I'll see you next week.

Heather Quick:

All right. Thank you.

Julie Morgan:

Thank you for listening to Women Winning Divorce. We hope you found information to help you navigate your divorce. If you like our show, please take the time to subscribe and provide a five-star review. If you need more information, please visit our website at womenwinningdivorce.com where you will find previous episodes and other helpful content. Join us next week as we continue our journey of Women Winning Divorce.