Another thing that my ex did, which was very clever, was to resign from his corporate job and work as a consultant out of the house. We then worked together in a home business that was very demanding and challenging, but that I enjoyed very much. We worked together on an equal basis with me doing much of the lab work, handling administrative and book keeping tasks, as well as proofreading and finalizing the reports we produced. During this time, our kids were born, spent time in pre school, Kindergarten, elementary school and participated in the many activities common to early childhood. Our children grew up being fit inbetween the hustle and bustle and daily responsibilities of the small business
What I didn't realize was that while I saw myself as an equal player in our small business, and at the same time as the primary caretaker of our children, my ex husband was conveying an entirely different story to all of our family and friends. His story, that he shared behind my back, was that he had to leave the corporate life to care for our children because I was too disabled to do so. His story was that not only did he run the business single handedly, he was also bringing up the kids all by himself as well. Apparently, I was described as reclining up in my darkened room in Victorian splendor, my hands pressed to my forehead overcome by an eternal headache.
Meanwhile, the fact that my ex was at home 24/7 gave him the opportunity to follow me around and dictate to me regarding whatever I was doing, to snoop after me and check up on every detail of my activities and duly criticize them, and to create disruption, and overall mayhem wherever he went. Just trying to maintain some sense of organization under these circumstances was an extremely difficult task for me. And what was interesting is that I was generally held responsible for this difficult atmosphere, not my ex. As the man and the so called wage earner, he was held above such matters, even as he generated chaos with every step he took.
I also want to add that religious communities are particularly vulnerable to this kind of gossip because of their degrading attitudes towards women. I am aware that my ex husband frequently went to business meetings at the Church we belonged to and complained that I was an inadequate wife. When the time came for our divorce, he actually listed the names of four ministers that he intended to subpoena to the Family Court as witnesses against me. Of course, all they could have done was to repeat his statements about me, i.e. that I didn't feed him (OMG!) and that I didn't keep a tidy house. I mean, there is no doubt that I was a working Mom. If you were going to compare me to Betty Crocker, and hold me up to her legendary standards, yes, probably I wasn't going to live up to them!
My exe's lies also impacted me in terms of my medical care and my relationship with my primary doctor. Foolishly, I had agreed to go to the same primary doctor as my ex. Later, I became aware that during the time we were getting a divorce, my ex convinced the doctor I was mentally ill even without any evidence, because there is none. The doctor then made a notation to that effect in my medical records. Luckily, he died and so that piece of misinformation died with him. Sorry. I should be more sad about that, but I'm not. And no, I didn't kill him, despite the temptation; he died of cancer. The point is, people--particularly professionals--shouldn't be so quick to believe lies just because a charming abusive narc can make them palatable.