Mod 7: My story – Max


My divorce from my narc first husband was final in October of 1992. I married my current husband in June 1994 and carried on with a much, much happier family life. As a couple we are not perfect…we’re just human. We’ve had our challenges over the years, but we’ve gotten through them all and today are planning on getting through the ones in the future too, by taking care of each other.

After our divorce, Max moved south to be with his new lover, who, sadly, died of AIDS about a year later. Max was HIV positive and in treatment, unsure of his prognosis. He moved back to another city in our state where he met a new lover and moved in with him. He had little to do with me, thankfully, and his contact with his daughters was limited due to his basic lack of interest, and on the rare occasions he did spend time with them, the get-togethers were all about him.

Max did manage to keep up the triangulation with his daughters, making the older one the Golden Child and the younger the outcast. The two girls felt quite differently about him, especially after a crisis that happened to the younger. While visiting Max, she happened to board the wrong city bus all alone, and ended up going through some very scary experiences in order to get back to his house. Was this half-hysterical young girl met with relief and concern? No—Max just upbraided her because she was so late for dinner. Then and there, she saw him for what he was and would never look at him as a father in any way again.

Max’s meds kept him alive, if not especially healthy. When he left the ministry many years before, he had gone into sales. Now he continued in that field, all the while musing how he really ought to find a better use for his vast intellect. But his plan to go to law school never materialized. What he did with himself or thought about his life I have no idea.

In 2002, the girls were both home from college for Thanksgiving break. I came back from doing a run through the neighborhood only to find the police had come to notify us that the girls’ father had committed suicide early that morning. He got drunk and sat in his running car in an enclosed garage. To the surprise of the authorities, he left no note. There was some possibility the death was accidental, and even foul play was an outside consideration. The real truth behind the suicide is something I’ll never know.

I felt no sympathy for Max, nor do I now. His death, in my opinion, seemed as selfish as his life—especially considering he had taken actions right before the suicide to mess up the state of the life insurance policy he was required by the divorce degree to keep in force for his daughters’ benefit. It was one last act of his heartlessness towards his own offspring, and in that context seemed like the final salvo of abuse he launched as he left this world.

That said, the news that the man who abused me for 18 years was no longer on the face of the earth was a tremendous relief to me, both for the sake of my family and everyone else who could potentially fall prey to him. One less narcissist in the world is always good news.

The story of my ex-husband demonstrates that however determined narcissists are to ruthlessly get their way in life, they will always come to a bad end. When a human being casts aside his humanity, nature dictates that things are not going to end well for that person. This is some small comfort to us victims. But even more so, it’s a cautionary tale for those who consider abandoning compassion and loving only themselves.

How I wish narcissism was a choice no human being ever makes.

And then there’s my dad….

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