Living in despair with an abusive ex

Hi Brooke,

I started out as a Scholar picking weight loss as my goal for this year’s program. I only have about 7-10 pounds to lose. Since I started, though, I’ve realized that I really need to switch my goal to managing my mind with respect to my partner’s ex-wife (with diagnosed NPD and BPD) and everything she does in an attempt to f**k with our lives multiple times a day.

I want to stay with him, so the ONLY choice I have is to clean up my side of the street. Cognitively, I understand that I can’t change her and that she is absolutely allowed to do whatever she chooses to do. I think you would probably say that no matter what she does, I can choose to think thoughts that lead to the result of her not having an affect on my life. But I’m struggling to make sense of that as it applies to my circumstances.

For example, if she alienates the children and when it comes time for my boyfriend to have his parenting time, they refuse to come over to his house, my entire week is consumed by helping him come up with a legal strategy for remedying the situation (we are both lawyers). My boyfriend is a wreck and, because I feel so terrible for him, I’m a wreck. I try to control the situation so she can’t do it again.

Another example would be that she steals money from our business account by committing bank fraud. I keep thinking that I can make it so that “circumstance” never happens again by filing a police report and closing the account (an ENORMOUS pain). Then I feel enraged, victimized, helpless, because it never ends. There is always something. So I keep taking action to change the result next time, and she just morphs like a virus and comes up with a new sledgehammer. It’s a real life game of whack-a-mole.

I’ve listened religiously to your podcasts on blaming, victimization, boundaries, and neutral circumstances. Maybe the best way to explain it is that I do understand in my grown-up brain that I can’t argue with my past and that every time she does something, it is now part of my past. But I keep trying to get out of the NEXT one, and it keeps happening. Like I’m an abuse victim that can’t move forward because the abuse never stops, unlike having been abused in the past and moving forward because–like you teach–you can’t argue with your past.

I’ve also signed up for live coaching on this, but I’m trying to get as much out of the program as I can because this has consumed my life for two years and I am LITERALLY (and I hate using that overused word, but it’s true) out of options for my own sanity. I cry all the time. I have fire brain all the time. I am living in emotional childhood and, although I think I know what I’m supposed to do to stop, it doesn’t seem to be working. You’re my only hope now (no pressure)!