Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue. First, let me say I can imagine how confusing and distressing this situation must be for you. On the one hand you have described a rather self-centered, narcissistic man who you don't think highly of. But on the other hand you are devastated that he has rejected you. It It is this that I'm most concerned about. You have described a whole set of events over decades in your life where you've allowed yourself to be passive: to let him decide what happens in your life and where you don't take actions on your own behalf. Or when you do, then you retreat back in order to get him back. I'm concerned that you are talking like a victim: why does HE do that to me? The real question is about you: why do YOU let him do anything to you when he's shown himself clearly to be not trustworthy or loving or caring? And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. Clearly, you are a worthwhile person. But not in your own eyes. Women get hurt when a man they know they should have kicked out and rejected decades ago rejects them! The problem, then, is not in the REALITY of the situation. The problem is in your PERCEPTION. What do I mean?
Your life is fine. You are fine. The world is fine. Meaning, your life, you, the world all have value, worthiness, meaning, purpose, importance. You're finally free of a man who has not been trustworthy or respectful or loving to you. He's leaving you alone! He's not bothering your kids any more. See how I view this based on the importance of YOU in this and not of HIM in this?
The problem is in your feelings about yourself, in your attitude. You have assimilated and bought completely into the negative view of you. That even though he is really quite unsavory, that he might reject you is SUCH a sign of your not being worthwhile. Is this reality?
Nope, you've coped with problems and have achieved successes. That's the definition of a worthwhile life. Now it sounds as though it's time to move forward. The problem is within you now. The solution, then, is within you. The problem is in your attitude. The solution, then, is in your attitude. And when it comes to ATTITUDE, the self help world is fantastic at it! I also want you to commit yourself to apply the principles in the following videos and books to your worries about anxiety. So that you can be yourself with more confidence. Coach yourself. Be your own life coach! I want you to get really into motivational videos and books. In other words, accept your past fears, accept your past worries and hurts and traumas. Accept them and focus on becoming who you WANT to be now. Here's a simple YouTube search I put together on "motivational speakers":
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=motivational+speakers&aq=f Some like Tony Robbins are the classic big guys. Some are newer. There are now wonderful women speakers as well. There are now great women speakers as well. Watch them all. Get inspired. Buy a book or two. Here are some possibilities, but they are only suggestions as there are so many good ones.
The first book is the father of all these type of books. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. There are classes in these books now! It was written in the 1930s and still has something to say to us today that is very worthwhile.
I think very highly of the second book on my list, which is a real classic: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. It is the book that has helped more people than probably any other. The third book is by Anthony Robbins. He's one of those speakers who fills up huge auditoriums. For a reason. He's a terrific speaker and writer. The particular book (if you like it, try his others): Awaken the Giant Within. So the only thing separating you from your sense of positive value in yourself is your running mind video about your failure and shortcomings. Throw those out and replace them with motivation and commitment to your future. He's not the problem here. That he hasn't contacted you is a blessing. If he contacted you it would be for what reason? Because he realized all of a sudden what a jerk he's been all these years?
Of course you know that's not what would happen. It's that you're scared about what to do. Who would want you? Well, start watching the videos and reading the books and beginning to recognize that he's not worth your little fingernail.
I wish you the very best!
Dr. Mark; I don't retreat back in order to "get him back", not sure what you mean by that, I'm not out for revenge. I can agree that I've allowed myself to become passive in order not to argue with him; a victim, yes, of his verbal and mental abuse. Is he self centered and narcissistc, not trustworthy, etc., yes he is. With all that being said, why would his behavior reflect such anger toward me, still? This is what I'm not understanding. I've accepted everything else.
Because narcissists cannot access their own ability to give to others so they use up other people's desire to give and to give goodness. To a narcissist, he is the sun and everyone else in his life is one of his planets. They orbit around HIM. And so, when someone "spins out of his orbit", meaning is no longer in his field of control, that is a personal loss to him. It's like a burr in his saddle. It is not just a pain, it's an affront. It's an insult.
The nastiest custody battles, for example, involve a narcissist parent. They will lie about the other parent, they will manipulate, threaten, harass. They'll drive the other parent out of town if they can. Because they were challenged. Their being the one in control was challenged.
It is very difficult for people to imagine how pervasive NPD is. OUr current understanding of narcissism is that something at a young age happened to his personality: it became "fractured". And as he grew up that fracture widened and hardened. What do I mean?
Let's use a parable of a house. You understand personality as being an open plan. There is the main big room where everything in the personality is and there are some smaller rooms off the main room, but they all have open doorways so that there is a unity there. If a person reacts from one of those smaller areas in his personality, it is coherent with the rest of the house, it fits into the decorating scheme of the main room, etc. It's all unified. He isn't like that. He has different closed rooms. When he says something to you, it responds to some need and "truth" of a certain room. When he wants something else, it responds to a different room that contains that "truth". They don't have to agree for him to feel he is being okay and truthful. Because they are responding to different needs in him. Like different closed rooms. You would not be able to feel whole that way. You would feel rather creepy. Well he doesn't feel whole. But he doesn't know how to feel whole. And he doesn't know what feeling whole is like. And this by the way is part of what makes him charming to women: they (and you) get their "I can fix him" module all tingling because they and you can sense that broken aspect. But....you would be messing with locked rooms that are protected by fire breathing dragons... I wish you the very best!