Divorce During the Pandemic
You got this. You can do this. You are strong.
I wish I had a dollar for all the times I've been told this throughout the course of the past 2 and 1/2 years. Going on 3 actually.
Yep, you read that right. Almost 3 years. That's how long my divorce is taking. Divorcing a narcissist is not easy. Google it and you will find countless articles discussing what it is like divorcing a narcissist. It’s a form of hell.
Nicole Smith put it best in her article titled The Ultimate Guide To Divorcing a Narcissist.
“This is not a fight for the faint of heart, and you must be braver than you’ve ever been.
… Buck up, grow some balls, put on an ‘I don’t give a flying F’ attitude, set major boundaries, and settle in for a long, nasty ride.”
Narcissists make it impossible. They purposely draw out the process. Endless motions filed in court. Custody evaluations. Late support payments. Repeatedly cross boundaries. I have experienced them all and more. The fight never ceases. Even after offering him a “win” in an attempt to settle things, he’s still insisting on taking me to court. It is insanity at a level I never could have imagined.
And it’s a very costly endeavor — not only financially, but emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
The stress that the divorce (and almost 20-year relationship with him) has caused me has been debilitating at times. Days where I literally could not get out of bed. Hair falling out. Autoimmune issues. Pain. Exhaustion. Migraines. I’ve had days where I wanted to run away. Didn't think I could face it anymore. Couldn’t take it anymore.
Queue the Pandemic.
The Universe decided to throw another curveball at me. Doubled down on the stress and anxiety I was already experiencing. Overnight I became a single mom, working from home, while homeschooling our 3 children, and managing a household — cleaning, cooking, laundry, shopping. Like the rest of us — living the nightmare.
Quarantine was rough. For all of us. Our daily way of life was pulled out from under us. Seemingly in an instant. But it also brought good to my life. The Pandemic made me realize just how important three things were: family, friends, and fitness.
My family had already been my biggest support system throughout my life and now divorce.
Having seen things with their own eyes in my marriage, it was them who got me to realize I needed to get out of it. My sister began questioning things, emailing me links, gently urging me to read articles. She wanted me to realize it for myself: my marriage was unhealthy. They saw the abuse firsthand. Heard how he spoke to me and our children. Watched him mistreat us. Listened to my stories when I was frustrated beyond belief with my life. Witnessed him follow me around arguing with me endlessly. Had altercations with him themselves. In fact, my brother refused to be anywhere near him and hadn't been in years. But what they didn't know was what I was keeping behind closed doors. They only knew the tip of the iceberg. For decades I had hidden what was really happening, defended him. Pretended that things were “perfect.”
But things were far from it. Like in many abusive relationships, I was physically isolated by my abuser. He severed relationships with friends and family members and had whittled me down to someone with zero self-esteem or self-worth.
My family realized this. And they have been by my side throughout this entire process helping me get out. Lifting me up. Pulling me out of my darkest moments. And they have continued to rally by my side throughout the Pandemic. “You got this. You can do this. You are strong.”
My friends have also offered unwavering support.
It is at your lowest times that you really discover who your true friends are. The ones that will be there through thick and thin. The ones that give you the best, most solid, and grounded advice. They don't judge. They listen.
Mine have supported me and listened to me from the beginning. Stood by my side in the courthouse while I was issued a PFA. Welcomed my children and me into their homes for playdates, dinners, birthday parties. Provided a shoulder to cry on. Helped me stay positive at the darkest times. Offered advice to help me navigate my new life.
The Pandemic tested these friendships. We couldn't physically see one another for months. Instead of coffee dates and girls’ night outs, we began Facetiming and calling one another. They were still there for me. And they continue to stand by me. Supporting me.
What's wonderful is that I have made new friendships during this Pandemic as well. Who would have thought? I have been blessed with meeting new people and have gained valuable friendships — we support one another in our business ventures. Bounce ideas off one another. Offer feedback. Lift one another up. “You got this. You can do this. You are strong.”
And then there is fitness.
Fitness had already been my main source of stress relief. Yoga has gotten me through some of my worst days. Breathing in — using my Ujayyi Pranayama breath— and breathing out the stress. It keeps me centered. Grounded. I started practicing well before I chose to file for divorce.
During the Pandemic, fitness became key for me and my friends. Pre-pandemic, we were already lucky enough to have a friend who had her own fitness studio (IG @supergoodfit) and would kick our butts on the regular. We had been taking classes in her studio and were already in the routine. Class; coffee after. Then the Pandemic hit. She quickly pivoted her business and began offering Zoom fitness classes. It was those 30–60 minute classes where we could all connect — over the screen. We would often stay on after class and chat. It was heartwarming knowing we were all in this together, that we were all ok, and that we would get through it.
Eventually, when things settled over the summer, we began taking the classes outdoors. Using friends driveways, garages, front porches. That has continued to this day. Still not using her studio, we carry on over Zoom and outside. She encourages us, motivates us, and keeps our spirits up. “You got this. You can do this. You are strong.”
So while the Pandemic has certainly been hard, and has made my divorce from a narcissist even harder, it also made me realize just how lucky I am. I have family, friends, and fitness. And I will prevail.
I got this. I can do this. I am strong.