One year ago today:
“The house buy-out amount and terms have finally been agreed upon after weeks of back-and-forth (and much money spent on attorney fees), and I had this to say about it:
‘I kind of feel like celebrating tonight but in reality, I’m super tired and want to read my book.’
Adulthood level: Master.”
One year ago today was a major milestone in ending Life with the Narcissist.
I wish I hadn’t had to take the steps I did, but given the circumstances, I have no regrets.
I know I’d be further along in my recovery if things had gone differently, though.
When our relationship ended, back in October of 2016, we agreed to stay in the house and sell it in June of 2017 in order to avoid paying capital gains taxes.
In January we started taking appropriate steps to do so. We met with a few realtors. We started having conversations about how to fix up the house. I got bids for the work on the house that needed to be done.
The Narcissist decided he’d rather continue owning the house than have to deal with me while fixing it up, since I had a habit of not always agreeing with him, and we all know how well that goes over with a Narcissist. He was under the impression that he had the best and most wonderful ideas and opinions about what a house should look like and what would appeal to the masses.
Never mind what any realtors or other experts in the field might believe; HE was smarter than any of them, obviously. He knew best and everyone else was stupid.
Not to mention his completely unfounded faith in his DIY abilities, which had produced chaos and catastrophe more than once already. This was somewhat manageable when work was being done just for us (albeit horribly aggravating) but if work was being done for purpose of marketability, I had this weird idea that perhaps it should get done well.
This was not acceptable to him. Thus, he offered to buy me out. And in typical narcissistic fashion, he did not see fit to offer me a buyout amount that was in any way reasonable.
His negotiation style was to repeatedly act as though he were doing me a huge favor and I should be happy with whatever he wanted to give me, even if that amount was far less than any other buyout agreement, ever.
To be honest, I do believe he thought he was being fair and wasn’t intentionally lowballing me, but the point is a bit moot. He wasn’t being at all fair, he was choosing to bully rather than negotiate, he was lowballing me, and he felt I was being horribly unkind and unfair by refusing to accept less than I knew I should receive.
I am proud and relieved to have started insisting all conversations on the topic take place via email immediately after his initial mention of a buyout (if you are in a similar situation, I can’t recommend this highly enough). I wanted everything documented, and, more importantly, I knew I couldn’t be relied on to manage face-to-face interactions with him well.
Via email, I could emotionally detach and address his statements appropriately. The unexpected bonus was that his words, when written instead of vocalized, sounded absolutely insane to the point of often being rather hilarious.
His inability to take anything I said seriously and to continue with his talking points, regardless of anything I may have said in a reply, were so obvious via email as to be almost laughable.
My healing started during those exchanges.
I finally was able to see why our conversations had always left me so confused and bewildered. The reason?
They genuinely hadn’t made any sense.
It hadn’t been my imagination; I was dealing with someone who was completely incapable of rational discourse.
The Narcissist was completely unreasonable and unaffected by silly things like logic and facts. HE knew what was best and how things worked. Anyone who might believe otherwise was simply wrong. Sound familiar?
I was patient and ultimately he showed his cards. He stated boldly, in writing, that he didn’t see me as an equal owner of our property and didn’t see me as deserving of 50% of its value.
It was at that point that I contacted a lawyer and stopped trying to negotiate on my own. I had his assertions and his logic in writing. Finally, I had something concrete to work with, something I could sink my teeth into and fight.
This was a sword I could pick up. I no longer had to stand on the battlefield without weapons or armor, searching for the battle and seeking how I might join, while a ghost poked at me whenever it chose to do so.
The ghost had finally taken solid form and made itself visible. I raised my sword and felt joy as it slashed through flesh.
The sword, of course, was the law. It was a battle, and it was exhausting.
One year ago today, he agreed to terms.
I successfully got a fair buyout amount from the Narcissist.
There was still a long slog ahead. Agreeing to terms wasn’t enough for this situation. I needed a written contract, something enforceable in case I ever needed to take him to court. It took two more months to get it.
But it was a year ago today that I learned I was going to win. I was going to win, against the Narcissist.
I wanted to stand on a mountain, beating my chest and howling with relief and pride.
I wanted to gather my tribe and drink champagne while we jumped with joy and hugged each other.
Instead, I curled up in bed with a book and fell asleep for 10+ hours. Let’s face it… being on a battlefield is exhausting.
It was over. Well, almost over, anyway. There was a light at the end of the tunnel and, soon enough, that horrible period would be in my past.
One year ago today.