Being a migrant anywhere I believe you seem to be automatically at a disadvantage. I found a website called Expat Online or something similar. I was surprised to discover many women in a similar situation to myself. The plight of an Australian girl living in Europe had particularly caught my eye. Her experiences had very much mirrored my own and like me she had had no success reaching out for help. In fact her situation was worse than my own. She could not speak the language. When she had tried to get help, the men(including her partner) had stood there chatting and she had had the distinct impression she was being portrayed as crazy.
We did go for several bouts of couple’s counselling. That was a mistake. In fact attending counselling with him was so traumatising, I had flashbacks for ages. I had soon realised he was so plausible, nobody was going to help me and if we split up, he and his awful family would get hold of the children. I was not going to surrender my children to him under any circumstances. I have since read the book The Sociopath Next Door and have decided my instincts were probably correct. I made the decision to sit it out until the children were old enough to be allowed to make their own choices. In the meantime I set about doing my best to make it work. I had even read Dr Phil’s Relationship Rescue. The best advice was to really study your partner. I did this with gusto. I had tried to discover what his needs were and did my best to meet them. I became interested in photography and had become meticulous about storing our photos as one consequence of this.
The photos had really helped me too. I had focussed on the good times and developed strategies to manage his behaviour. By and large this had actually worked really well and I had managed to be relatively happy most of the time. I was open with the children about their dad. I have since discovered Sam Vaknin says much the same thing -basically tell the children the truth His rages in my eyes were the tantrums of a three year old and I would not give in to them under any circumstances. He had improved significantly, although mixing with his family was a major trigger for him. One family member in particular had known exactly how to push his buttons. I ended up going no contact with most of his family. This was not because I had known anything about “No contact” I had just realised it had felt so much better having nothing to do with them. It still does.
I came to feel a bit sorry for my ex at times. I had watched his relationship with his family and had tried to learn from it. I could see he had not really been allowed to develop his own seperate identity. I had recognised he had no idea who he really was. I thought how lucky I was to have been allowed to develop my own seperate identity. I thanked my parents for this many times. He did however triangulate me with his family all the time. As I largely ignored them, it bothered me less and less.
Things had deteriorated again when he had changed jobs and had started to move up the corporate ladder. I had hated the whole corporate wife thing and had refused to conform. My ex had found this frustrating but our children were really well-liked as I had done my best to bring them up with minds of their own. I think this was to some extent respected. They were polite but they did not conform either.
My relationship with my ex had deteriorated on joining the new company. The blokey, chauvinistic culture had really got up my nose and I did not hide it. However I was now fighting to keep things stable on too many fronts. I became deeply unhappy. He had started to completely disregard my opinion on anything. He now had to make absolutely all the decisions. He would sit on his laptop and later his phone and simply plan our lives with no consultation. I had periodic problems with flying monkeys but I would basically tell them to get lost. I have zero tolerance for flying monkeys. I learned to laugh at the narc’s harem. I thought if you are dumb enough to put up with what I have had to, good luck to you. The whole time I had kept my eye on my timeline. If things had not improved by the time the children could make their own decisions, then it would be over.
The end had come a little earlier than I had intended. It was God’s timing which mattered in the end. I had told him his threats no longer intimidated me. I think that was it in his mind. He had then planned a scene.