(As told to Team Bonobology)
When I left my love marriage and filed for divorce from my controlling and manipulative husband, there were several areas in which I faced challenges. The whole process of growth and detachment can take some time but it is not impossible. All the hurdles were tough to overcome, but I offer proof that you can stay strong and come out a winner.
I hope you can read about my story and manipulative husband to take some inspiration from my journey of healing and reclaiming myself. Emotional abuse is undeniably traumatic and not something that you can just brush under the carpet. The sooner you call it out and try to find a solution, the better it will be.
Ways To Deal With A Manipulative Husband
Keeping sane after being battered by insults, lies and horrid stories continuously is where my strength stemmed from. The hardest part of a divorce is to not react. That somebody you loved so dearly, shared a bed and life with, considered a part of you can say such things is heart wrenching. It takes courage to stand alone and face the situation, aware that you’ve been betrayed by the closest people in your life; and especially when the rumors being spread are so downright nasty, horrible and largely untrue.
The only way to withstand this is to constantly remind yourself: I don’t want this marriage, I am never going back there, and his words are just words.
The rumors that he and his ‘team’ spread about me were plenty, and almost laughable. The worst stories he spread were of my family, blaming them for the breakdown. That’s the thing about having a narcissist husband – they refuse to take blame for anything. They point fingers (he also blamed my best friend for the divorce, and then went on to sleep with her).
The truth is, my parents had no idea to what extent I was suffering and unhappy. I told them I wanted a divorce on the morning of the day that I left his home. I had gone to the lawyers by myself before. This was my decision and I wanted to take responsibility for my own life. Him targeting my family was also proof that he had nothing else substantial to throw at me, because everyone had seen me do everything right in my marriage. It was now solely up to me on how to deal with a manipulative husband and this is how it went.
Related Reading: What Is Sleep Divorce and How Can It Save A Marriage?
The day I left, I was already aware of his activities behind my back. All the micro cheating and the lies- I knew about it all. Over the initial weeks, so much more information came my way that made me realize battling for friends was not worth it. I had already gauged his next steps and he proved me right. I did not want to involve more people in such a personal family matter. It also helped that I was in no mood to talk or socialize with anyone.
What surprised me the most was that in this period of separation, his friends all reached out to me and stood by me, while my best friend started sleeping with him and divorced her own unsuspecting poor husband. And she joined him in assassinating my character. She called me names, labelled me crazy and maligned my family. His friends did nothing but compliment and praise me. Thank god, I was not going to be coping with divorce alone and would have somebody.
It’s true when they say in hard times you see the true integrity in people. Some people even called me to tell me what was going on behind my back because they felt guilty at not having spoken out before – these revelations helped me understand so many of the fights that hadn’t made sense to me earlier.
My manipulative husband had a whole life and personality behind my back that I had been clueless about. He still doesn’t know how much I know about him and his disgusting activities, and still badmouths me at any given chance – it’s been over a year. It doesn’t even hurt me anymore.
Related Reading: Book excerpt: Untying the fine knots
The cleanse is necessary
I wanted nothing but to be free of him and the manipulative relationship I was in for so long. I did a breakup cleanse – deleted all pictures, threw away anything that offered even a subtle reminder of my manipulative husband and the marriage. During this period it was so easy to get caught up in the hatred against them for creating more problems even though I left them completely alone.
I stopped hating him and her and everyone else. The hate had given me insomnia and disturbed my focus – I instead realized I should thank both of them. I thank her for having had this extramarital affair with him so early on before we started a family and showing what he really was made of before it was too late, and I thank him for making me realize what a strong and brave person I am.
I studied for a new course, I travelled. I didn’t call anyone up to discuss my divorce or make anyone pick sides. That’s the worst thing you can do, after being influenced by people with other motives.
I don’t hate anyone that I ‘lost’ in the divorce, instead it has helped me understand and judge people in a better way. I’m now a lot more guarded when it comes to trusting. Some would call it trust issues but I am just more careful now. I adopted a healthier lifestyle and stayed away from any vices that had the slightest capability to bring me down – this is a lot easier to do when you live with your family who fully support you.
Related Reading: Divorce is not the end of the world but a new beginning
Be the bigger person
Not once did I address the rumors that were hurled at me; I maintained silence throughout. This was the hardest thing to do, and tends to affect you in many ways. I constantly told myself that in time the truth will come out for all to see.
I never said a bad word against any of them, because honestly I don’t care; my marriage was over long before we filed, and him doing anything with anyone doesn’t hurt me, but relieved me that he would just sign the papers and leave me alone.
And this motivation alone kept me strong. I started working again in a new career that I had been thinking about for long. I started smiling and laughing again, I travelled, I ate good food. I was living a good life again being happily single.
Don’t lose hope
In times like these, you realize the importance of people with a backbone and that there is no such thing as black and white, but every shade of grey instead. Sure, friends reached out and stayed in touch. But they also kept quiet when he went below the belt about my family and me.
Nobody wants to get involved in a ‘family’ matter. I get where they are coming from too. Why involve oneself in our mess? But I did receive some good divorce advice for women from time to time and friends who told me they would be there for me always. Some of these people also went out and said ‘she is a lovely person, who has carried herself with such grace despite all that he’s doing’.
I have the silent support of so many people, which counts in the long run. It’s been a year and the truths about my manipulative relationship have already surfaced and everyone’s characters are on display for people to judge. I learnt people don’t really care what is being said – if you’re a good person it comes through eventually.
And the result of my polite, mature behavior: my friends who supported him are now being judged for it and have gotten a taste of his infamous bad behavior treatment; he’s lost all his closest friends. I suppose my manipulative husband is finally paying for what he did to me.
Related Reading: 15 Clever Ways To Deal With A Manipulative, Scheming Mother-In-Law
Going out to social events is still daunting and I avoid them as much as possible. I remain nervous in big crowded parties. I still believe in love, friendship and marriage but I’m in no hurry. I’ve found my true friends and I’m grateful for all the beautiful things life has to offer.
And most importantly, I’ve never been this happy and sure in my life. One of the most important ways to deal with such a life change is to simply believe in yourself. I love myself and I am happy to take care of myself. Today I’m free as a bird.
A manipulative man is one who is a narcissist, often uses gaslighting phrases, is not receptive to your emotions and lies to you constantly.
If your husband is often going behind your back to indulge in things, if he is lying to you and you feel like he might be playing with your emotions, you might have a husband with manipulative behavior.
You run from it. Such a dynamic is never stable in the long run and one should perhaps try counseling first to understand the root cause of the problem and resolve the same. If that does not work, one should consider a divorce or separation to embark on a better life.