I was with my abusive ex for 3 and a half years. We met when a friend brought him to a house warming party of mine. He seemed easy going, attentive, fun and just-so-happened to like all of the same music and movies as me.
He was easy company and before he left he put his number into my phone without me realising. We talked all night but he never mentioned that he had two children. When I added him on Facebook I saw pictures of children and asked him and then he said they were his. I found out that he was a stay at home dad and they lived with him full time and I thought that was admirable.
He was quite intense from the beginning and messaged me constantly and wanted to meet up all the time even when I was reluctant to at first. He would bring me flowers and cook me nice meals and invite me out to dates or to his house where we would hang out and get on really well. He told me that his ex had left him for his friend and he was left with the kids and that she was a “psycho” who had always cheated on him, had numerous affairs and abortions or other men’s babies and didn’t care about their children.
I felt sorry for him. I had no reason not to believe him.
He hadn’t worked in years but he told me this was because his ex “wouldn’t let him” and she used to go out all the time and leave him at home with the kids and being as I didn’t know this woman and the children lived with him I just believed him.
His house was filthy and he had them living in squalor, dirty clothes/nappies, dirty house, it was really bad, but whenever I went over he would do the laundry so I just thought he was finding it difficult being a full time dad and I helped by taking care of the kids, bathing them, making sure their rooms were clean and tidy, that they had clean clothes on and ate healthy food and I bought endless things for them and for the house feeling like I was helping out.
I fell pregnant within a fortnight, not thinking I was able to have children due to medical reasons and I was careless. I decided to keep the baby and was totally happy to raise it alone if he didn’t want to know. He assured me he wanted the baby and was happy.
Things started to go wrong and not add up very quickly but due to wanting this family unit I ignored the signs and believed him. He would claim that his kids were his world but he wouldn’t spend any money on them, only himself, he’d regularly keep them off school if he couldn’t be bothered to take them and he’d send them to whoever would have them so he could have time off.
He said such vile things about his ex but when she came round he would be friendly with her, and have private conversations or would never say to her what he’d said to me, it was like he still wanted her to be his friend. He would regularly pay his rent late and there were always letters arriving from debt collection companies about things he’d not paid, when I’d ask him about it (as I’m really on the ball with my finances and always pay my bills on time so it panics me) he would say “I’ve sorted it” even though he had no money.
His actions didn’t match his words. For a period of time I thought we were in this bubble of trust and that although had I not fallen pregnant I wouldn’t have gotten so involved. I felt he was a genuine and trustworthy guy and I cared about him and told him about my past and things that had happened to me and how I can’t be around a liar or someone who will hurt me and he said he would never lie to me.
So when the mask started to slip I almost couldn’t believe it because I felt so stupid. After a couple of months a letter arrived for his ex that said “Mrs.” on it. It was only then that I found out that he was still married and that no proceedings had been started for the divorce. He claimed that she wanted a divorce as much as he did and then she’d apparently told him to apply for it as she was working and would have to pay whereas he wouldn’t. He also claimed that she had stolen some compensation money off him to set up the family business and that he deserved all of the credit for her setting up what I now know was always her business.
He would go and work in her shop when she went away and say he was the manager when really he was just standing in the shop while everybody else got on with their work. He always talked himself up on minor things. He had a second phone that he would secretly top up and use to text people.
He asked me to find it once while he was at the solicitors so he could tell him about a message his ex had sent and when I did I saw messages from gay dating sites saying that they had accepted his payment and had sent him his pin number so that he could log back in to watch their videos. When I questioned him about it he said it was spam.
His ex was “being difficult” and so he started applying for a residence order for the children but it all seemed to be an attack on her rather than for his daughters. He stopped her seeing them a couple of times and would tell them that their mom was bad. Over Christmas time he had spent all of his money on himself so I sold my car so that I could buy their Christmas presents as by this point due to his financial impulsivity I couldn’t afford to run a car anyway.
He was never grateful for anything and just expected it. I accidentally found folders and folders of unspeakable illegal porn on his computer one day and left the house, when he called me I told him what I’d found and he begged me to come home and talk, I agreed but said if he deleted it then I’d know he was lying and he said he wouldn’t.
When I got home not only had everything disappeared but the folder it was in had also been deleted and he told me I had imagined it and that if I had seen anything then it was a virus that had been deleted by an automatic clean up on his laptop that just so happened to have activated just before I got home. If I said that it wasn’t normal for his ex to come round and “hang out” he would say that I was the one with the problem or that I was the only one who had a problem with it.
I felt like I was going crazy. Whilst helping him hang out the laundry on several occasions I found women’s underwear that wasn’t mine and were too big to be his exes, when I asked him he said he had no idea where they had come from. He would say horrible things about his family and how bad his parents were but would never defend me if they upset me or confront them when they did something wrong, he just wanted everyone to think he was this nice guy who was so easy to get on with but wanted everyone around him to hate each other.
He kept saying “my dads going to give me some money for the baby” but ended up selling weed that his dad had grown from the house where his kids lived with him and had no care for what this could do to them. He had made a stash of money he said would be for the baby and when I came over one day he had bought a car, he didn’t even have a driving license and he wanted to drive the kids around in it.
When I told him he needed to get rid of it he said “why can’t you just be happy for me, you’re so ungrateful”. Lies continued to unfold on a daily basis and at Christmas he proposed with a ring that he claimed was hundreds of pounds but it was $40 (the price isn’t whats important but it was just the fact that he lied about it).
I felt trapped in this huge complicated mess so said ok. For my birthday he bought me a mug after I’d really gone all out for his arranging a surprise party and taking him to see a show, etc. The thought was just never reciprocated.
I gave birth not long after that and the whole time I was in the hospital he was on his phone, he had been secretive with it for weeks putting a passcode on it and guarding it. I later found out that he had been messaging two girls every day including while I was in labour, for months, one was a friend, and send them picture messages and having explicit conversations.
When I asked him about it he said I was a psycho, I was a nut-job, I was acting like his ex etc even though I paid his phone bill and paid for the iPad he wouldn’t even let me look at them. When I threatened to leave he dumped his kids at their aunties and disappeared, refused for ages to cut these girls out of his life, and said that he wouldn’t do it again.
I came back although all of this triggered post natal depression. He continued to lie, I found a secret Facebook account that he would message old flames on, telling them the reason he couldn’t meet up was for reasons such as he was moving to America, he was moving to the Isle of White or that his dad was dying of terminal cancer, all untrue.
I also found emails to a girl he was sleeping with before me who he had called a stalker and a psycho telling her he loved her and not to forget about him. Amongst these emails I found evidence of 2 gay datings profiles, one from the same page that had text him, and copious emails to men with explicit messages and even emails from when he was with his ex proving that he was cheating on her with many women and that he had been an escort whilst with her.
He cried and made me agree to let him delete it all as he was ashamed and if I ever brought it up he would explode saying I was unfair. I supported him to go back to college by looking after his kids whilst heavily pregnant and he said the course would be for 1 year, 4 years later he’s still at college. In the end his ex took the girls and refused to bring them back and by the time it went to court they ruled they could stay with her.
He eventually stopped turning up to court hearings about access and lost his right to see them and now hasn’t seem them for 3 and a half years. When he initially went to court he was taking selfies saying he was off to slay a dragon and laughing and joking because he thought he would win and it was all a big game to him to hurt his ex.
Whilst with me he would be given opportunity after opportunity and make nothing of it, he had still not worked when we split up, saying he was too good and too overqualified to get the positions he wanted despite not finishing his qualification or having any experience in the field.
He lied and took out a huge loan to set up in business and then never did and lied about repayments. There were many many other financial incidents like this one. We didn’t have much money while we were both retraining but he would always want new and expensive things. He would agree not to waste money on certain things in hundreds of separate conversations and then do it the very next day claiming he didn’t think it would be a problem. He didn’t care.
He would regularly buy things and say his nan or his brother had bought it for him or take money off his nan that was meant to be for our daughter and say it was his. I went to counselling for my post natal depression and went back onto antidepressants because he told me I had to, even though he knew I’d managed to stay off them for years and never wanted to take them again.
I told him he needed to get some counselling for his lies as he claimed to have baggage from his ex and it was her fault he was like this. It took me 9 months to convince him to go to the doctor and he told me the doctor had said that he was depressed because of me!
When the date for his counselling came around he said that he went and that they told him he was absolutely fine, there was nothing wrong with him and that he didn’t need to go anymore. I walked around in the same old scruffy clothes every day and didn’t look after myself because I made sure my daughter had everything she needed and he was always wanting new things and he was always in nice new clothes and expensive shoes and aftershave.
My mother even said to me that it wasn’t like me and that I always used to take care of myself before. I was miserable for years but he made me believe I was the problem. Stupidly I went ahead with the wedding, thinking if I’ve stuck with him through all of this what else can happen? The wedding was paid for entirely by my family and myself and not a penny was contributed by him.
It was a massive mistake and very soon after the wedding I finished my qualification and got myself a job in my dream career. I worked to support the family and he would moan saying I shouldn’t be tired from work as he has had our daughter all day. I later found out that he would leave her in dirty clothes if she had spilled her food and would put her in her cot for hours while he sat on his computer.
On my days off I would give him money to go out and do what he wanted (things I couldn’t afford to do myself) and have my daughter as he needed “time off”. I eventually started getting my confidence back due to being back in work and started taking care of myself. I gained my self respect back and realised exactly what he was and that he was never ever going to change and that I didn’t love him let alone respect him.
I asked him to move into the spare room. For the next few months he acted hurt and upset like he wanted the relationship but I later found out he had already met people on dating sites and started lying to them. We went on our honeymoon/family holiday before he left as it had already been paid for and he spent the whole holiday messaging this girl, lying to her about where he was, etc.
He tried it on with me twice on this holiday saying he thought it would rekindle things. He finally left after he’d lied about where he was going and tried to con me out of some money and I asked him not to come back. He started seeing this girl straight away but telling me he wasn’t planning on seeing anyone.
In moments of clarity he would blame his actions on his childhood or his parents and grandparents and the rest of the time he would act like he was perfect.
He lies about work, money, everything, had had at least 3 girlfriends since he’s left that he’s lied to and has let his daughter down time after time. He pleads poverty whilst spending large amounts on himself, lets his friends and family down, got kicked out of his nan’s house and is about to get kicked out of the house he shares with his friend because he is dirty, doesn’t pay his way and lies.
He started a smear campaign against me and the other girls along the way saying we are psychos, he said my car is his car, that my cat is his, that I was cheating, that the reason he won’t pay maintenance is because I get my nails done, send my daughter home with dirty nails and ulcers in her mouth and the says I caused them.
Whilst doing all of this he texts me acting like nothing has happened and like we should be friends. When I ask him why he has lied about me he says because he was hurting. Always his excuse.
When my daughter had an accident I told him the same day, told him we had to be at the hospital at 8am the next day, he told everyone I hadn’t told him what was going on (because he didn’t want to cancel his plans with his friend) and that it was my partner’s fault she had an accident.
Last year when I met someone he spent months trying to get me back, phone calls in tears, message after message, emailing my parents, turning up at college, asking me to go for coffee, sending me pictures, threatening suicide all because I had moved on and he didn’t like it whereas for the months prior to this he hadn’t cared at all!
I have realised exactly what he is and always was and feel vindicated but now I just need to work on protecting my daughter from his reckless lifestyle. Being with a covert narcissist has made me stronger and appreciate an honest and loving relationship so much more.
My goal is to educate, empower, and inspire other abuse victims in understanding more about what happened to them (and how to prevent it from happening again), as well as how to go on and rebuild an amazing life.
Even though I have had a lot of "in the trenches" experience with highly manipulative people of all kinds, I consider myself to be a student of Narcissism, mindset, motivation, healing, and life in general, and am by no means an expert on any of these topics.
It's for these reasons, that when you are reading my information that I encourage you to hold to what helps, and let the rest go.
Latest posts by Dana (see all)
- Episode 28: Gratitude Can Help Keep You Grounded - March 21, 2017
- Episode 27: Learning How to Tune Into Your Emotions - March 19, 2017
- Episode 26: Live Stream from March 8, 2017 - March 14, 2017