S3, Ep5: Narcissists, their Behavior and our Addiction to the Drama with guest Victoria McCooey

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Season Three, Episode Five of the Crazy Ex-Wives Club Podcast with Erica Bennett and guest Victoria McCooey

In this eye-opening episode of The Crazy Ex-Wives Club, host Erica Bennett delves into the world of narcissistic behavior with expert Victoria McCooey.

Explore the physiological urge for post-divorce drama, the critical differences between narcissistic traits and behavior, and the importance of self-empowerment during recovery.

Hear personal stories of facing extreme narcissism and receiving actionable advice on handling toxic ex-partners, especially when kids are involved. Victoria offers insights into covert narcissists, the power of reaction control, and spotting the nine signs of a narcissist.

Plus, don't miss exclusive offers for our listeners seeking support in navigating these challenging waters. Tune in to empower and protect yourself in the aftermath of a relationship with a narcissist. Subscribe for more from The Crazy Ex-Wives Club.

Full Transcripts Below.

Learn more about this week's guest: Victoria McCooey

Victoria McCooey is a Narcissist Divorce Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Creator of The Reclaim Your Power System™. She works with those trapped in a toxic, controlling or otherwise abusive marriage to help them stand up to their abuser and regain control of their lives. Having suffered through an abusive marriage to a narcissistic spouse herself, Victoria is passionate about helping others make the same remarkable transformation that she did. She’s trained as a hospital advocate for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence and is a certified Life Coach. Her articles have been featured in notable publications and websites, and she’s appeared on numerous shows and podcasts. Through her writing, speaking, private and group coaching programs, social media following, and her YouTube channel, Victoria has helped thousands acquire the skills, mindset shifts and courage necessary to stand up to an abusive partner and to create a joyful new life for themselves and their children. You can learn more about Victoria and her coaching programs at victoriamccooey.com.


Narcissists, their Behavior and our Addiction to the Drama with Victoria McCooey FULL TRANSCRIPTS

Erica Bennett [00:00:03]:
I am so excited for today's episode, you guys. This is a topic that, to be honest, I have kind of avoided because it's such a hot button and I have such an opinion on it. But it is one that is running rampant all around social media. Narcissists. Narcissistic behavior. Dealing with a narcissist. Right. Divorcing a narcissist.

Erica Bennett [00:00:25]:
We've all seen it. Super excited to have a narcissist expert with us today. So let's get started. Shall we do the insert? Hey, guys, this is Erica, and it's another episode of the Crazy Ex Wives Club. I am super excited for today's episode because today we're going to talk about narcissistic behaviors because we have all seen them, we have all been there. And being empowered to understand what it is, what it isn't, and how to deal with it so you can maintain your own happy space is such a game changer, especially as you're navigating your new world post divorce. So I'd love to welcome today's guest, Victoria McCooey. She is a narcissist divorce coach, and I am super excited to have you here.

Erica Bennett [00:01:15]:
So welcome, Victoria.

Victoria McCooey [00:01:17]:
Thanks for having me. I'm just as excited to be here.

Erica Bennett [00:01:20]:
Yeah, I saw Victoria. She did a summit, a divorce summit. I saw her content. And as we all know, there are tons of people out there talking about narcissistic behaviors. But I loved some of the points that she was making and how she brought it to life. So I knew I wanted to bring her on to talk about narcissistic behavior with us all, because this season is about empowering you to be your best self. And I know for me, one of the hardest part was not letting my ex's behavior knock me back into a spiral of bullshit. Right into a spiral of being pissed, letting his behaviors drive my happiness.

Victoria McCooey [00:02:02]:
Yeah. And you know why that happens? Why we keep looking for that drama. There's, like, a physiological reason for that.

Erica Bennett [00:02:14]:
Okay, well, you guys, this was worth it just for that.

Victoria McCooey [00:02:17]:
It's not your fault.

Erica Bennett [00:02:19]:
When you try your hardest, you just want to step into that.

Victoria McCooey [00:02:23]:
Just step on it, because you're programmed. Your body is programmed to have those doses of that adrenaline rush, or it's a dopamine rush. Even though we think of dopamine rush as a good thing, it still is a spike, and your body's missing that adrenaline spike, right? When you get so angry, something really triggers you, and it's like you get something out of the person, right? So when you're trying to remove yourself from the relationship, your body's craving it. And as much as you've done everything you can to separate from it, you find yourself just taking the bait because your body is craving that rush. Isn't that amazing?

Erica Bennett [00:03:12]:
I think that makes total sense, because for a long time, too, I actually very consciously avoided ever getting angry to the point that it actually was a little bit detrimental. Right. Because a little bit of fire motivates you to go get stuff done. It's a motivator that pushes you forward. If you put your hand on the stove and you never felt your nerves telling you that it was hot to pull it off, you just sit there like. And that's kind of what I had built because I was so angry pre divorce that then I was like, oh, this is unhealthy. I need to rewire this anger. I need to channel it into something else.

Erica Bennett [00:03:48]:
And I moved too far in the other direction. And so when I finally started stepping back into it, I was like, oh, this feels good. Yeah, it totally makes sense. So we wanted to talk for you guys. I think where I want to start is, let's just talk a little bit about why is everybody so hot on the narcissist label right now. This is one of my little soapboxes. So let's see if you and I align on this topic.

Victoria McCooey [00:04:20]:
I think it's a problem that this word is thrown around so loosely when people are having to go to. I'm working with people, mostly women, but some men, who are in the divorce process and sometimes having to show up in court. And when you say, well, my ex spouse is a narcissist that is killing your case, it's so dismissed because now you're using language that you're not a psychiatrist, you don't know, and it really diminishes your credibility. So it's not a great thing to go around calling everybody a narcissist, especially when you're in a divorce proceeding. But, yeah, it's rampant. It's like the personality disorder du jour that everybody is claiming everybody's a narcissist and because there are people in the news that everybody's calling. So it's just like a mainstream thing now that everybody is accusing everybody else.

Erica Bennett [00:05:20]:
Okay, so we are so aligned because I hate very few things. That is one of the things that I hate when I hear somebody be like, oh, my ex is a narcissist. And I'm like, time out. He might have had or she might have had narcissistic behaviors or tendencies or times. But guess what? We all have. If we're just talking about narcissistic behavior, means that you put your needs and desires above the benefit of anybody else. We've all done that sometimes.

Victoria McCooey [00:05:52]:
Sometimes it's the right thing to do.

Erica Bennett [00:05:55]:
Yeah. And especially, like, when you're hurt, right? When you're hurt and you react and you're like, I'm just going to do what I need to do for me. You're no longer collaborating and working with somebody. Those sorts of selfish behaviors populate a lot, but the world has taken it to stamping people with a label. To be honest, it's so disrespectful to those handful of cases that do truly have a narcissist involved.

Victoria McCooey [00:06:22]:
Yeah, that's absolutely true. I hadn't really thought about that. But we've diluted it.

Erica Bennett [00:06:28]:
Yeah. Because there have been a couple of stories I can think of, actually, only two of divorce stories where I was like, no, that literally is wrong. Like, one person, male, female. I knew the female, half the male, burnt down the house that she lived in just so that the children couldn't inherit it after she had unexpectedly passed. That's crazy pants, you guys.

Victoria McCooey [00:06:54]:
That is crazy.

Erica Bennett [00:06:56]:
That narcissistic behavior, because it's so out of control that just so that nobody could get to it. So that it was gone. He just burned it down and that was it.

Victoria McCooey [00:07:08]:
Yeah, I had threats of that from my ex husband that I'll burn the house down before you get it, things like that.

Erica Bennett [00:07:17]:
And you're a fellow divorcee. You had to go through some serious shit, a lot of pain to get to what you've created today. And so it's also like a beautiful story of like, yeah, divorce sucks. There are some really bad stuff that happens in it, but look what you can transform it into.

Victoria McCooey [00:07:33]:
Yeah, and I'm not alone. I mean, a lot of people, when you come out of something like that, the tendency is to want to help other people so they don't have to suffer as much as you did. There's so many things. I'm sure you feel the same way that you're saying, now, if I'd only known this then, or if I had somebody helping me through that then or explaining this to me then I could have expedited this whole healing process. Right?

Erica Bennett [00:08:00]:
Yeah. And that's where I think for the majority of people, if you're sitting there listening and you're like, you maybe have already labeled your ex as a narcissist, I think my challenge for you would be, is this just a season they're in? And if you were to extend a little more grace to them, like, hey, they're hurting, too. If you extended a little more grace, would some of that back off? But we have to be able to do it in a manner that maintains your own boundaries because you shouldn't be hurt in the process of having to deal with that person.

Victoria McCooey [00:08:31]:
True. The behaviors can be so terrifying, though, and those are pretty much the people who are attracted to my coaching. You know, there. Yeah, there's no.

Erica Bennett [00:08:48]:
There's no safe zone. There's no safe zone. Like, there's not a.

Victoria McCooey [00:08:52]:
There's no question that these people are in a dangerous situation.

Erica Bennett [00:08:57]:
Let's talk about that, too, because let's help people identify. Where is it that maybe they're just in, like, their ex is being a little stupid, or.

Victoria McCooey [00:09:06]:
I explain it this way. We're all on a spectrum, I think. I'm not a psychiatrist. Here's how I see it. We're all on the spectrum. It's healthy to have a small amount or some amount of narcissism. We need self esteem. We need to have some ego.

Victoria McCooey [00:09:22]:
We need to take care of ourselves. Right. So where on the spectrum is your partner? Right. Even a psychiatrist who's trained to diagnose this? It's not easy. They say. It's very difficult. There's a lot of gray area. They're taking a snapshot.

Victoria McCooey [00:09:40]:
They're not seeing a whole lifelong history. So even a psychiatrist has trouble diagnosing someone as a narcissist. So certainly we can't. Yeah, but if their traits, their narcissistic traits are so far on the end of the spectrum that they become toxic to you. That's all that really matters.

Erica Bennett [00:10:03]:
Yeah. And that's the thing of, like, I think toxic to one person might not be toxic to the other. It's about your own guidance scale. When is that toxic to you? When is that something that is hurting you in your life? Because that's when you need to draw the line. That's when you need to create some systems to protect yourself.

Victoria McCooey [00:10:24]:
Yeah, absolutely.

Erica Bennett [00:10:25]:
So what would you say? One of the things I also loved is you had the nine signs of a narcissist. Right. What makes them. So let's run through those, like, the nine things to look for, because I will tell you, I've googled it a few times since having it cross my path to learn a little bit more, and I probably didn't find nine. I found some general statements of what it meant. And your nine really shed a lot of light on some of those past experiences that I was thinking of.

Victoria McCooey [00:10:54]:
Right. I even say some of them have some overlap. Right. There's a lot of gray. Some merge into another. But anyway, so the need for admiration is a big one, right. They have to have everyone know that they're special, that they should be treated differently. They need to be admired.

Victoria McCooey [00:11:19]:
Also. How they use children for admiration on themselves. Right. Their children are only worth anything to them for the value, the admiration that they put on the parent. Right. Oh, look at how perfect my child is. Envy. They are so jealous.

Victoria McCooey [00:11:42]:
And it's not just romantic jealousy. It's somebody has a car that they don't have. Somebody has a better house or a more attractive partner or like anything. It can be anything. They can't stand that anyone has or is going on a trip. They'll try to sabotage things that other people have because they don't have it. Sense of entitlement. Right.

Victoria McCooey [00:12:13]:
They deserve everything, especially in divorce. That is where it really becomes a problem, the sense of entitlement, because they truly believe they deserve more. They deserve everything and you deserve nothing. It's not a level playing field when you go in to make a settlement because they don't have that sense of fairness, because they totally have this entitlement issue. Arrogance. How many do we have? 1234. Arrogance. Yeah.

Victoria McCooey [00:12:46]:
That's self explanatory. They are rude. Look down on people. They're the people who are mean to the wait staff.

Erica Bennett [00:12:58]:

Victoria McCooey [00:13:00]:
Grandiose. They're grandiose, which is a lot like the sense of entitlement. Right. That they deserve. They're better. They're bigger, better, more important. Lack of empathy. Everybody knows that one.

Erica Bennett [00:13:16]:
That's a big one. It's a big one.

Victoria McCooey [00:13:18]:
And it's so hard for us as nondisordered people to really understand that. How do you not feel somebody else's pain? How do you not imagine what somebody else is going through? Right.

Erica Bennett [00:13:34]:
Yeah. And I think people in general, there are people who just are more empathetic. For some people, not even narcissistic-tendencied people, feeling empathetic is hard. Right. Feeling empathy. Unless you choose to think about it, like, hey, how would this impact somebody else? But it's a skill we all learn. Like, I think about it something that I was teaching my kid, right? Because little children are born selfish, because that's their protective mechanism. And so it had to constantly be like, how do you think your friend would feel if they did that to you? How would you feel if that happened? And building that in is such a life skill.

Victoria McCooey [00:14:11]:
You know what I've learned in all these years of researching this? They know that this is lacking in them. They recognize it in other people, and they think it's like this telltale thing they try to cover up. So they fake empathy a lot.

Erica Bennett [00:14:31]:
Okay. I'm like, the light bulbs are going off because I've got a specific client I coached a few years ago that I'm thinking about that. Yes. This ex was just so overly nice, constantly. Oh. Providing compliments. So nice on the surface. And then you would turn around, and she had manipulated the words, taken the words, landed.

Erica Bennett [00:14:56]:
It was crazy, because I'm like, how is somebody showing up? And for someone who words of affirmation is not my strength. I have to work at giving specific compliments. I was always like, okay, but I'm seeing this person give all these compliments all the time, constantly reassuring. And now that makes a lot of sense.

Victoria McCooey [00:15:18]:
Yeah. It's hard to put yourself in their shoes because they're so different. They have these fantasies of being perfect. Perfection and superiority. Right. Success. They're all wound or beauty or attractiveness. Right.

Victoria McCooey [00:15:40]:
They see themselves as better looking than everybody else and superior in every way, or maybe just in one of the more powerful. Like, they pick something, and that's their thing that they go to. Yeah. 1234-5679 there we go.

Erica Bennett [00:16:02]:
Yeah. So when I first heard your list, kind of as I was just sharing with you guys, I was thinking through some of these people that I have met, and I think the other thing was, and we can get into that next. There's different types. And the narcissist we know of, the outgoing person who fills the room, and then the covert narcissist that works very differently, kind of was like, blew my mind a few years ago when this walked into my world. But when I heard your list, I was like, oh, now, all of those little behaviors that seemed so mismatched, you're looking at somebody, and I'm like, oh, that must be a childhood wound. We must need to peel the layer. And we start peeling the layer.

Erica Bennett [00:16:43]:
But then the behavior switches right out from underneath your feet, and you're like, wait a second. How were you just, in that example, raining down so many nice words and then turning around and saying, you got verbally attacked? Where do these two worlds in your mind line up? And so that list of nine really helped me sort out some of those conflicting behaviors.

Victoria McCooey [00:17:05]:
Right, so you've heard about the mask they wear. Right. They wear a mask, these covert narcissists, and you think they're one person and they can keep it up for a while, but at some point, after a long enough time, the mask will slip and you'll get little glimpses into who they really are and how they really think, yeah, they're leading a double life, 100%.

Erica Bennett [00:17:32]:
And how exhausting that must be. My little empathetic heart does go out to them of, like, what a sad place to be in. But it's also so interesting because their mind has created such a protective mechanism that they're not always aware that this is even happening. Because I think from the research I had done was, like, the root cause of somebody who starts to form these narcissistic behaviors is truly a lack of self worth, that this starts very young and that they feel so broken on the inside of not knowing their own value that they start to create all these stories and behaviors and activities in hopes of achieving that love.

Victoria McCooey [00:18:13]:
That's right. So there's also another trigger that's common, where there are two parental role models, and they might not be parents. It could be a coach or a teacher or somebody influential who has, like, a parent status. So one abandons them, either physically abandons them or abandons them emotionally, and the other one overcompensates and coddles and overindulges to make up for the one who left. And so they're like, am I worthy? Am I not worthy? It splits, and it causes this break.

Erica Bennett [00:19:02]:
Yeah, that's right. My little healer self is like, oh, if we could just fix these people. Right?

Victoria McCooey [00:19:09]:
No, the bad news is you can't, because I'm not making this up. All the research says the same thing, that there is no therapy and there is no drug to fix narcissism. And that's because a person has to recognize the need to be fixed in order to do the work to fix themselves.

Erica Bennett [00:19:33]:

Victoria McCooey [00:19:34]:
And they can't recognize because they think they're perfect. And it's very rare to even get one to go to a therapist or a psychiatrist because they don't want to be told that that would be too damaging to them.

Erica Bennett [00:19:51]:
And, like, what a double edged sword, right? The one thing that would set you free is to do the personal work. And yet your mind, your own mind has created such a story that you're perfect and don't need any work. And so it's literally locked you in this loop that you can never break free of. It's like the glass house. You can't ever get out of.

Victoria McCooey [00:20:09]:
Right. It's so crazy having to be perfect.

Erica Bennett [00:20:13]:
All the time, right? So since we can't get them to change, we can let go of that hope. We can't change people in general. And this is definitely a really difficult person to deal with. And the reality is, in any relationship, you can never change your partner. In the short term, you can act a certain way or demand a certain way, and they might change a little bit, but in general, they revert. And the only thing we can control is how we choose to show up and how we choose to react to it. And so in these situations where you're dealing with somebody, either a narcissist or someone heavily into narcissistic behaviors, are there some best practices on how to avoid getting stuck in it? Because that's what I see happen a lot. They're so good.

Erica Bennett [00:20:57]:
The narcissistic-behaviored person is so good at manipulating and hitting the triggers and pushing you into reacting the way they want you to so that they can remain perfect or perceived perfect. How do you break the cycle?

Victoria McCooey [00:21:13]:
Well, there is a statistic that says women who are in these relationships with a narcissistic partner try to leave the relationship seven times on average before they eventually are able to leave for good.

Erica Bennett [00:21:30]:
That is crazy.

Victoria McCooey [00:21:31]:
They are very good at sucking you back in either. It's usually a love bombing event. I'm going to change. I'm going to do everything the way you want it. I'm going to stop whatever the behaviors are. And you want to believe, especially if you're married and have children. Yeah. So you want to believe so badly.

Victoria McCooey [00:21:54]:
I get that. But the other way they do it is when you're trying to divorce. I see this a lot. They try to sabotage you. They make it so difficult and tell you the crazy lies about what that life is going to look like for you on the other side, that they scare you into saying, this is better than that.

Erica Bennett [00:22:20]:
Yeah. And the sad part is that even once you get to the point of finally making the decision, which was a hard decision, because they reeled you back in and they warmed you back up and all of the things is that even when it's done, it gets even worse.

Victoria McCooey [00:22:34]:
Now you've shown them that you can be manipulated back in and the abuse just escalates.

Erica Bennett [00:22:41]:
Yeah. And so learning how to. You can't even really co-parent with a narcissist, but having to work with them after the divorce and the marriage is done, I mean, think about it for yourself. My divorce really took a hit on my self worth. And so now you have somebody who already has a lack of self worth that can't believe that they ever did anything wrong. It's almost like fuel to the fire to make sure that they can prove that they were right.

Victoria McCooey [00:23:06]:

Erica Bennett [00:23:08]:
Yeah. It sounds like, too, in most of your work, you probably work with women who married male narcissist. More of the, what? Like, grandiose, like the outgoing personality narcissist versus a covert narcissist spectrum.

Victoria McCooey [00:23:23]:
I mean, I've been doing this for a lot of years, so I've seen every kind of narcissist ex husband. There can be stories that would make your hair stand up. So it can be really bad. Some of them are very dangerous. There's police activity and threats and kidnappings and the whole.

Erica Bennett [00:23:53]:
One of the things that was new, and we've kind of mentioned it. I've mentioned it a couple of times, so let's just give them a little hint into it. When we think narcissist, we always think it is the people pleaser, the one who owns the room, the one who's schmoozy and talkative. But there's another type of narcissistic behaviors, which is the covert narcissistic behaviors. So tell us a little bit about those, because they show up very differently, and it can be just as confusing, but they play a little bit of a different game.

Victoria McCooey [00:24:21]:
Right. They're not the big personalities so much, but they're quiet. I'm just going to say it's a man, because most of my clients are women. But there is a statistic that says 75% of narcissists are men. Men hate it when I say that on the air. But what are you going to do, right? It's just data. Yeah.

Victoria McCooey [00:24:49]:
They are the nicest guy in the world. They're the neighbor who will go mow your lawn and take in your trash and do all the things. And that's where they get their adrenaline rush from people thinking they're so great. Oh, my God. Your husband is the nicest, nicest man. You're so lucky. And then once you're behind closed doors, he's Jekyll and Hyde. The other side comes out.

Erica Bennett [00:25:18]:
Yeah, I definitely saw more things. Covert narcissism was. I would use the word like, softer because they're not the outgoing one. They're a little more introverted. They play the victim role far better, because, again, all the words of affirmation, oh, love this about you. Your beautiful hair. Or this or that or whatever else. But then it's also, they're the victim of, like, how could you do that to me? I'm so nice.

Erica Bennett [00:25:46]:
How could you do that to me? Or you did this to me. Right. And so playing that role of, I've seen them be very skilled at getting other people to do the work for them.

Victoria McCooey [00:25:55]:
Flying monkeys. Yeah. They tell everybody, oh, I'm so worried about her. I've put up with this because I love her so much, you know, and I want to take care of her, and I want her to get better, but she's really doing these terrible things. But I can't leave her.

Erica Bennett [00:26:20]:
I've gotten that call. I have gotten that call from a client's partner, and I'm like, wow, go tell your partner you called, because I am going to tell her. We're not crossing this line. We're not doing it. Yeah, they do. It's very interesting, right?

Victoria McCooey [00:26:37]:
Your friends, your family, your coworkers, whoever will listen. And those are the flying monkeys who come in and do his work for him. All the people closest to you are like, oh, poor so and so. He puts up with so much. You should really rethink what you're doing here because he's such a nice guy.

Erica Bennett [00:27:00]:

Victoria McCooey [00:27:01]:

Erica Bennett [00:27:01]:
So you don't have to stay hopeless. Feeling, though, you guys are like, this is a mess of a personality to deal with. It is. But there are things that you can do to help steer clear of it or to help at least minimize it. Things like sticking to the facts and recording things, looking for patterns. Right.

Victoria McCooey [00:27:22]:
All right, so we're talking about if you're preparing to leave.

Erica Bennett [00:27:26]:
Yeah. So if you've got to continue to work with this person who's got these narcissistic traits, work with them in.

Victoria McCooey [00:27:36]:
like, co parenting. Right?

Erica Bennett [00:27:38]:
You've got divorced. Yeah. You've gotten out, but, like, God, you still got to talk to them, because if you got out and you didn't have kids, you're like, sweet. We are. Like, hopefully they're gone. Hopefully they're not a stalker type. But in the case that they got to keep showing up because there's kids involved and they're making your life miserable, still, what can they do?

Victoria McCooey [00:27:56]:
Okay, so remember, my people are extreme, right?

Erica Bennett [00:28:00]:

Victoria McCooey [00:28:01]:
I've identified the three types of communication for the three different stages of divorce, and they're all very different. So when you are just planning your escape, you don't want to let them know what's going on. You want to keep it undercover. Right. You're doing undercover work. So you're going to talk to them and you're going to try not to engage in the argument because you need to heal, and that's just going to keep wearing you down. So, yeah, I call it the Stepford wife stage. Oh, yeah, I have to think about that.

Victoria McCooey [00:28:38]:
Oh, wait, I just remembered. I have to go. You just play dumb. Like what they said didn't upset you and you didn't get it, and you just keep things like that. All right, so that takes a little practice, but then when they know you're divorcing and now you're in a divorce. Do you agree with me that the system does not understand this?

Erica Bennett [00:29:07]:
100%! Because I think, and I've had more experience in the reverse where it's literally the female is actually leveraging the narcissistic behaviors. And so now the court system is really like, oh, it's the mom. The mom never does anything wrong. Right. And so I don't think the lawyers are set up to understand the behaviors. I don't think the court system is. But again, that's because it is super complicated. It's really hard to diagnose.

Victoria McCooey [00:29:34]:
I am gathering my Rolodex. Do you even know that word, I'm so old, of all the attorneys that I've not all. They're not that many who honestly understand the dynamic, but they're only part of the problem. Court system. Judges, parenting coordinators, forensic psychologists even, don't really understand what the victim has been through, how they are compromised and how they're triggered. So it's really important to start healing before you get to this. You're not going to finish healing.

Victoria McCooey [00:30:14]:
You're never going to finish healing. Right. We're all on that journey. But you have to at least start the work before you start presenting in front of all these people.

Erica Bennett [00:30:24]:
Yeah. Because the other thing, too, is like, the divorce process itself is exhausting.

Victoria McCooey [00:30:29]:
It can feel very victimizing, too.

Erica Bennett [00:30:31]:
Yeah, but this person's worn you down, so you're already starting with a low battery and you're more likely to just give in, to just roll over and in the moment, just give in so that the thing is gone. And that's what they're hoping for. They're hoping they can just wear you down.

Victoria McCooey [00:30:47]:
But even more than just taking a bad deal or laying down, it can be brutalizing. You could be accused of all kinds of bad intent because you're not being cooperative or collaborative or a nice co-parent or they don't understand that this is an abuser who you're triggered by and you can't have. It's like dog whistling. They're saying things to you that nobody else hears are abusive because they know how to push buttons that are going to get you going. So there's so much to it. So, yeah, it's a really difficult place to be when you're in that court system. So, wait, let me get back to my communication. So when you are communicating with a soon to be accident, you're in the process.

Victoria McCooey [00:31:49]:
Bless you. And you've got lawyers and judges and parenting coordinators, all these people watching you, probably. You're communicating through a parenting app and everything is evidence. You can't go, no contact or gray rock or you can't. Because now you're the problem. Because, you know, they're going, hi, good morning. How are you? I hope you had a nice night. I hope the kids are doing well.

Victoria McCooey [00:32:14]:
So I just want to confirm with you that I'm picking them up, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Is there anything I can do for you? Can I bring you groceries? And you're like, are they buying this? Are they buying this? Because he's going to come over and he's going to verbally berate me. For what? So now if you go back and go, no, I'll drop them. Our exchanges at the police station or whatever you're supposed to do now. You look like the crazy person. This guy's being totally nice to you. Why would you treat him that way? It's such a manipulation.

Erica Bennett [00:32:54]:

Victoria McCooey [00:32:54]:
And you're trying to hold your boundaries because you've got to heal and you've got to take care of yourself. You've got to protect yourself. Most of my clients exchange at police stations because the interaction is so abusive.

Erica Bennett [00:33:12]:
Yeah, so elevated. And for the kids, too. So phase one was Stepford wives. If you're deciding now, you've left, what was their key?

Victoria McCooey [00:33:23]:
Well, while you're divorcing, you need to pretend to be nice. Not overly, but you have to go with it and go, good morning. Here's the kids plan for the day. Hope you have a nice day. Right. You just have to play the game while all these eyes are on you so they don't think you're the problem. But once the ink is dry and it's done, you speak as little. Not speak at all.

Victoria McCooey [00:33:53]:
You communicate in writing as little as possible, with no emotion, not one adjective, just date, time, whatever. Nothing else. And nothing you tell them. Nothing that isn't court ordered for you to tell them.

Erica Bennett [00:34:13]:
Yeah, and I think it's hard because I watched the conversations spiral, because that person knows how to push the triggers. Right? So if you show up, this is the date of the exchange. This is the time of the exchange. This is the location. And maybe you have one question in there, right? Like, does this date work for you? And what comes back is a big everything else.

Victoria McCooey [00:34:34]:
20 pages long.

Erica Bennett [00:34:36]:
Right, right.

Victoria McCooey [00:34:37]:
But you can't even say, does this date work for you? We have to close the loop. We have to say, if this doesn't work for you, notify me by tomorrow at 03:00 p.m. Otherwise, I'll be going forward with this.

Erica Bennett [00:34:51]:
Yeah, right.

Victoria McCooey [00:34:52]:
You can't give them any opening, any gray area. They'll keep you waiting. Just anything to get you going. Like, well, he has an answer. So now I don't know what to do. Do I take them? Do I not take them?

Erica Bennett [00:35:06]:
Yeah, it's exhausting. So we feel for you guys if you are stuck in this, but just remember, it's a business transaction. So keep it civil, keep it polite, but maintain what you need so that you're protected and try and avoid. Just don't step in to those hot buttons. And we know it's hard. We do. In fact, we know it's so hard that this is far more than know one podcast episode. So Victoria does have a couple amazing things.

Erica Bennett [00:35:38]:
She's got a new offering for you where you can really get a deep dive into the narcissistic behavior. And then she has an offer for you as a listener. So first, tell us about your new program. Because when you told me, I loved the fact five days is a deep dive, I can get all the information. Because one of the worst things is when you're dealing with it, is having to wait for the next time that you get more information. So if it's over five weeks, that just seems like forever when you're in the middle of having to deal with something, right?

Victoria McCooey [00:36:07]:
So I thought, for all those people, and I talk to them daily, who don't know what they don't know, the whole thing scares me so much, and I don't even know what questions to ask, because how could I ever stand up to this person? How could I ever leave? There's no way they're going to allow me to do this. It's just never going to happen. So I thought, what all these people need is, like, the broad strokes of all the things, right? The broad strokes. And then, you know, what questions to ask. So it's a five day crash course called outsmart the narcissist. So every day there's another lesson about another topic that you need to know. And it is a hybrid of online and live. So every day you get started, it's a Monday through Friday.

Victoria McCooey [00:37:02]:
They're going to be monthly. So I'm not sure if probably this one will be before this episode airs. So just check my website and we'll have it up there. So every day, Monday through Friday, you get an email. You wake up to an email that has a video for that day's lesson. And then there's a live zoom where anyone who's in this group can come on and ask questions. And I'll reinforce the lesson that you got that day. And then you can ask all the questions around that that you have.

Victoria McCooey [00:37:38]:
And then the next day we move on to the next thing. So by the end of five days, you should really have a solid understanding of not only what you're up against, but how you can get ahead of it, how you can stay one step ahead.

Erica Bennett [00:37:50]:
Yeah, I love that. Because again, having all the info, having not only like a learning module, because there's lots of places you can go read and watch and whatever else, but then the ability to come back, to ask questions, to get specific help, gives you that foundation. So at least you got some study footing, right? As you begin on this new path. So the info for that, you guys, it'll be in the notes. We'll link her website in the class, it's in the description of the podcast. It'll also live on the crazyxyzclub.com under episodes where you can read all about this episode and have all the links. But then she does have a second offer specific for listeners. So tell us what that is about.

Victoria McCooey [00:38:27]:
Yes, it is my breakthrough to break free session. So this is your initial session with me where I do a deep dive into what you're going through and come up with some ideas for what your best next steps might be. But it's also the first step if you're interested in working with me. So it's our get to know you call, but you also are going to get coached on this call. It's normally $97. So I'm going to do a 50% off for your listeners. You'll get a link to my calendar, and when you make the booking request, all you have to do is put the name of this podcast in your message to me.

Erica Bennett [00:39:12]:
Beautiful. And I'll have all those steps in there for you guys too. So you'll have the link, you can put the little code in there of the crazy ex Wives club, and then you'll get 50% off, which is amazing. And thank you for the work that you do, because when you're stuck in those situations, it can feel so hopeless. And divorce is hard enough as it is without having to deal with ongoing abuse from the person that you once loved. So thank you, Victoria, for joining us today. For you guys listening, yeah, for you guys listening at home, take care until we talk to you next week. We'll be back with another great episode.

Erica Bennett [00:39:51]:
Until then, make sure that you subscribe on your podcast platform. Please share it with your friends, and we'll talk to you all next week.


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