Breaking Ties

“A part of your healing will be to rediscover what it means to be you; there will be some additional scars inflicted by your ex-partner, but your inner self will eventually shine again.” — A Conscious Rethink


man wearing mask sitting down and holding newspaper with fire

Photo by Ashutosh Sonwani on

Having been in a relationship with a narcissist, and having to continue dealing with him on a regular basis has worn me down.  Even though the marriage was dissolved nine years ago, the fact that we had children together and shared custody required me to live in fairly close proximity.

However, several things have contributed to my “inner self” beginning to heal, and start to shine again . . .

  1. I have continued to be successful in my career and obtained further certifications and two additional degrees (with honors) despite his attempts to denigrate my accomplishments.
  2. I have developed friendships and relationships with a small but strong circle of supportive allies who are not known to him, have no mutual friends with him and whom he cannot contact in an attempt to get information or give false information.  These people have been instrumental in lifting me up in prayer, giving me positive and confirming reminders of my worth and loving me for who I am.
  3. I have slowly learned that he does not deserve to be included in any part of my life, other than shared events with the children.  I am learning that I do not owe him any explanations for anything I do.
  4. This is the biggest one for me so far . . . I have a right to develop a home of my own.

When I purchased my current home, it was before we started dating.  I was divorcing an abusive spouse and starting fresh.  I was already successful in my career, able to purchase one home while maintaining the marital home until it could be sold.  I drove a newer vehicle and to all outward appearances, was doing well.

I was not, however, doing well emotionally.  Fresh from a brutal and demoralizing break-up with three kids to support, the last thing I should have done was begin another relationship.  They do say . . . hindsight is 20/20.

A narcissist will discover what your interests are, what is important to you, and then work to destroy anything that matters in your life.  At the time we were dating, my biggest accomplishment (save getting away from an abusive partner) was the purchase of my home.  At the time I bought it, it needed some repairs and renovations, but nothing so extensive it wasn’t feasible.

By the time we separated and divorced, seven years later . . . the house was in shambles, practically destroyed from the inside out. Torn apart, dismantled, gutted and left in pieces — mine to deal with as it was non-marital property.  For nine years I have lived here.



Feeling as if nothing I did would matter.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was too sick to make any repairs.  Nor did I have the funds.

The depression deepened.

The turning point began when my furnace quit working.  It was springtime of 2018.  I got tired of the “same-ness” of my existence in this house.  The furnace that the narcissist had installed 10 years prior was rusted out.  To quote one of the installers of the company I hired to replace the heating system, “Whoever installed this crap should have his ass kicked.”  That simple outside validation from an installer in the same industry as my ex- (with as many if not more years of experience) fueled my small flame of gumption.

The fact that I used someone other than himself to install a new HVAC system and removed that portion of my home from his control irritated him.  His “excellent work” was revealed and deemed unworthy — all the times that I was told I just didn’t appreciate the hard work he did to “help” me with the house was now being recognized by an outside source as a hapless joke.  The ex-‘s “help” wasn’t help at all, it was a concerted personal attack on my success in buying a home.  Something that he was unable to do.

Since then, additional small steps have been taken but are snowballing into more and bigger things culminating in the biggest change of all: the purchase of a new home in a new state with a new job.

My daughter and her boyfriend are planning on staying in my current home and completing some of the work required.  He and I had a deep conversation about my role in the future.  His concerns that I will be wrapped up with my new home are valid.  I was able to point out that I don’t believe his concerns are warranted.  Once I physically remove myself from the house and the idea that this is my home, as well as the belief that what was once my dream was torn apart, I will be able to work on the needed repairs more subjectively and view this house as simply an additional property that I own.

Breaking ties – seems difficult, but in the long run, it’s a form of self-preservation.


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