My purpose of posting all of these events is sincerely to help anyone who is going through this too to not feel as alone, or afraid to make the next move. I spent years in limbo...I knew I should leave, but for the kids, wanted to stay. There was a tiny part of me that was always hopeful, even after discovering the affair (the first time). There was always a part of me that wanted to believe that THIS time he was really going to try to control his temper, and the words that he flung at me daily. Most of the time, those promises were lost within hours, sometimes mere minutes. It is so scary making that decision to leave...to disrupt your children's lives, your marital union, your financial stability, your home. My decision was made with the events of Christmas Eve, and expedited by the reveal of his girlfriend. Not everyone has such clarifying moments. Before that, I tried to just exist...telling myself it would be easier on the children to stay...counting down the years until the youngest would turn 18. But then I got pregnant and reset that clock. I had moments where I felt strong enough to go, especially during my pregnancy when the abuse was at its worst. But the fear was paralyzing. Its easy from the outside to look in and tell another woman that they need to leave, that they need to set an example for their children and remove them from a toxic environment. Its easy to look IN and see the damage being created by one horrible person. But when you ARE in, it is so much harder to see out. I will never judge another woman for not "just leaving." If you haven't been there, you can't understand how hard it is.
Our custody hearing was 6 hours long. When I saw his evidence...much of fake or exaggerated, I realized he was going to play as dirty as he could. He lied in court about his role with the children, trying to seem much more involved than he ever was. His evidence consisted of pictures that had nothing to do with me, but that I still had to defend. Bags of clothing I had set aside long ago for donation (and had been donated months before court), were described as "trash." By looking closely at the pictures, you can see it is clothing, but for him to take pictures while we were still living together...it was part of his plan. This happened with several other items. The judge didn't really care about these mundane things, but because I knew my husband had no qualms about lying to make himself look better, it was a difficult trial. You can't just stand up and yell that he's lying. If your lawyer runs out of time for your testimony, you may never get the chance to tell the truth. It was awful.
His family was there supporting him. I never in my wildest dreams thought they would pick sides. Never. His mother knew what he had put me through. His mother knows what kind of "man" she raised. I thought of them like my own parents, and trusted them. I am no longer "allowed" to call them, and they are forbidden to call me. Occasionally we run into each other, and its cordial. But, it cuts me to the core to know how much I cared for them and how they've shown me zero support after what their son has done. Because he lives with them, they help care for the kids when they visit, and for that I'm grateful. Even though they and I no longer have a relationship, I trust them with my children, and my children still adore them.
Six hours after court began, it ended with no resolution. We had a substitute judge (who was recovering from a stroke and should not have been allowed on the bench!). He "ordered" our visitation schedule, which was ludicrous and more than even my husband was asking for, and at the end of the day, just sort of waved his hands and said "let the lawyers figure it out." It took four months, but they finally did last week. My spousal support was suspended because its a Circuit Court issue, not Juvenile Court....but what he told everyone was that it was cancelled do to me cheating on him. Again, I didn't.
I mentioned earlier about our psych evals. I never got the opportunity to read his (with it being illegal and all to snoop at another's medical information without consent), but enough came out during court to confirm what I had thought all along. The narcissism is real. Do not ever ever underestimate the damage a ticked off narcissist can inflict on your life. Damage to their reputation, damage to their lifestyle, their image...makes them angry. The things my husband would say, the lies he would spin, scared me. After court, he more or less would leave me alone, unless things were going south in his other world. Then the text wars would start. Its baffling to see their words, and to know they are lies, but also know how very much they believe in what they are saying. I have learned this through much trial and error: do not participate in the chaos they are trying to create. If they text you a lie, leave it alone. They want your interaction. They want you to get upset and frustrated. Its a game, and you do NOT have to play!!
I'll give you an example of the skewed mentality he exhibits. A friend of his was dying of cancer. He called me, crying, saying that it was this man's final hours, and he was headed to see him to support the family. And WHILE I'm on the phone with him, he passes me on the road going the other direction, opposite of where he needs to be. I ask him about it and his tone changes, just like that, and the tears stop, he's fine, and states he's checking on his goats. That a few had been killed and he wants to make sure they are ok. Well the goats had been killed several weeks prior, not recently. And his friend was on his death bed, right? My therapist explained that a narcissist does not "feel" the way "normal" people feel. They know what society expects them to do, and the reaction that is expected during tragedy, but they do not feel the losses the same others do. All that crying...it was for show; to elicit sympathy and respect that he was such a "good" friend. Any emotion that I thought was "genuine" during the past nine years probably wasn't.
The only part of him that is genuine is his anger. Everything else is for show.