I often observe and analyze narcissist’s behavior so we can recognize and understand what they are doing to us and how they are getting away with it. I want to start adding some “real life” tips on specific situations with narcissists….
Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to get a protective order or restraining order for emotional and verbal abuse, but I was able to get one for domestic battery after my narcopath ex assaulted me.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time a woman had gotten a restraining order against him, and the narcopath knew what to do.
When a judge issues a protective order, it is not typically valid until the other person is served. If they aren’t served, then they can still harass you. Guess what the narc did? He wouldn’t go to his home address, so the police could not serve him. He hid out of town and gave fake addresses. We tried and tried and tried to get him served. In the meantime, he kept coming to my house and would stand in my front yard harassing me! I would call the police, and they wouldn’t do anything because he had not been served, and the order was not yet valid. It was frustrating! The police couldn’t serve him, because the copy of the order was in the other town where my ex was hiding out and using fake addresses. So we went around in circles for weeks.
Eventually, the narcopath started sweet talking my mom and trying to bargain with me. He said he was so sorry and he really wanted to go to therapy with me, but he couldn’t do that unless I dropped the order. At that point, I knew he was abusive, but I did not know he was a narcissist or a sociopath. I was afraid he might be on drugs and that’s why he went into so many violent rages. But, we hadn’t been married long, and I really did want him to go to therapy. On the other hand, I wasn’t going to fall for this trick! I countered by having my mom tell him he could go to therapy on his own, or we could arrange with the court to re-write the protection order so we could attend therapy, but he had to stay away the rest of the time.
The narcopath refused. It was all or nothing. He knew I really wanted him to go to therapy, so he held out and insisted that he would not go until I dropped the order.
I very reluctantly finally agreed.
We hadn’t been out of court more than an hour before he was raging and going crazy again. Later, he only went to therapy once…and it set him into one of his worst rages. He refused to ever go back.
I sure learned that lesson!
Just as I had feared, it was a set up. The narc was going to say whatever it took for me to drop that protective order, but once it was dropped, he wouldn’t keep his word. Not long after that, I was re-reading Lundy Bancroft’s book Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men and wouldn’t you know? He described almost exactly what had happened to me! He warned victims not to drop a restraining order because the abuser will often make promises to get out of them. Too bad I hadn’t read that earlier! I suspected it in my mind, but I still had hope for the abuser. Abusers play on our hopes and our beliefs that they can change.
What I would say to other women in this situation is:
Never drop a restraining order based on promises alone. If you suspect that there is a chance that your abuser really does want to change, then your abuser needs to prove that first. Promises are not enough. But, if your abuser is a narcissist, nothing is going to change anyway, so make sure you are being realistic and not keeping hope alive. If your partner really does want to change and is capable of change, then they can start with respecting you and your boundaries first! And that means they have to earn your trust and earn the right to be around you again by showing real and long term change. Narcissists want to bypass this step so they can get their narc supply back.
* I highly recommend all of Bancroft’s books, especially Why Does He Do That?. He is one of the top authors that therapists encouraged me to read when I was looking for help with the abuse. So much of what he says is right on, and he really “gets” it. He believes that abuse is a choice and that abusers are rarely the “victims” of mental illness.