I anticipate that every extraction from an NPD spouse has unique aspects. However, one thing that seems to be common, is the need for the NPD spouse to be the center. S/he needs supply, attention, focus.
When I was going through my divorce with NPD (possibly borderline ex) in the phase two period (meaning he took me back to court for a "do-over" a year after our divorce was final), I had an attorney who quietly suggested we present things in such a manner that he would look like a hero, and yet I would get what I needed from the courts. More so than our original divorce agreement.
For me, the difference was an attorney who comprehended what an NPD spouse was. What drove these people. And yes, it really is as simple as "supply".
In initial drama after D-day, and for about 18 months after, I too feared my spouse. I learned that our kids (young teens at that time) also feared their father. Our eldest began sleeping with a heavy bar under his bed. He told me he was afraid his dad would come and harm me, and his younger brother. I never would have predicted this. I honestly believed my spouse was the nicest man, until he turned into this lying, cheating, detached-from-family person he was now. As my spouse began to crumble, he became scary. Threatening and unpredictable. Sort of a Clint Eastwood "Dirty Harry" character. I got rid of all the weapons in our home. I gave them away. !!! I did not know this person I had lived with for 17 years. I did not recognize this man that was the father of my children. EVERYTHING I believed to be true about him seemed to shift.
And then, I took precautions. I was careful in what I said to my eventual ex. I guarded my responses. I played to the NPD. And.. I was calculating.
This might sound weird, but I was aware that I loved this man, but I could not be married to him. He clearly had stuff of his own to work through. And, he was unfaithful. Often it seemed. And, he was "in-love" with his soulmate/cosmic twin. AND... he wanted to control me, and blame me. Apparently I was the source of his pain, his problems. Or, so it appeared.
Honestly, it took me a while to understand my spouse was "messed up" in a manner that was not conducive to marriage and family. It took longer for me to see how I supported his NPD-ness (and maybe his Borderline-ness).
If I can pass along any advice to those divorcing a beloved NPD spouse, it is to not give yourself away. And... understand tactics. By this I mean to know what it is YOU need for your, and your children's future. Then, move through divorce with this clear vision, while attempting to structure the language of your divorce agreement in a way that positions NPD spouse as the hero, while ALSO gaining what is essential to you.
My experience is that my beloved NPD spouse would have taken everything from me he could have. It would not have made any difference to him in the long run. He was in pain. My guess is that he is still in pain. Destroying me so he could feel better in the moment would have been fine with him (and his lawyer).
Standing firm against this takes great courage. And strength. Untangling from an NPD is something unique. For me, painful and not so easy.
But, there is sunshine at the end. And... we are NOT their victims!
[This message edited by luv2swim at 1:21 AM, December 22nd (Monday)]