Example of “communicating” with a narcissist “effectively”

Recently, with both my kids in turmoil and feeling frustration that they have to see their Dad, my daughter’s awesome therapist suggested that I try to see them every day that they are at their father’s.  She said that even if it’s for a very short time, it should help (especially for my five year old) because he can keep in mind that “I’ll see Mommy tomorrow”.

So the last weekend they were there, I put the idea out to my ex, via email.  I asked the therapist first if she would back me if I say that it is something she recommends (note to those of you in custody battles…. this is learned over the years.  I asked her in text because she prefers it over email, and I have all my texts sent via “backup to gmail” to my gmail account.  It’s a wonderful app that can be downloaded on android phones).  The therapist said yes.  My ex said “the schedule is the schedule” and that he wasn’t about to let me see them.

Another important thing to note is that I really impressed on him how I was offering for him to chose the best way to do so, and that we could make it win-win for him by giving him time to do something he needed to do for work.

Ironically, within a few minutes later and in the same stream of email as “the schedule is the schedule”, he offers to me to take the kids on Saturday to a birthday party for my daughters friend and return them to him.  This was the idea I threw out to him which had the longest time period to it.  In exchange, he wanted to be present for an hour the following weekend, and to switch his evening time period the next week.  He ignored my request for seeing them on Sunday.

“Sure” I tell him.  Done.  When I saw my kids on Saturday, they tell me how their dad was adamant that “mommy is not allowed” to see them on Sunday.  They are sulking and upset.  I say “I’ll see what I can do” and that I need to think through whether I can do it without making him too mad.  Here’s what I did.

On Sunday morning (I wanted to see them at an event, with him present, at noon), I sent my ex a text which said that I wanted to go to my daughter’s class to see them.  I then actually said in parenthesis that I didn’t actually want to have to drive all the way out there, but the kids wanted me to and I didn’t want them to resent their Dad.    I didn’t actually explain that they ALREADY resent him 🙂

My reasoning… is that it gave him perfect ample time to respond in a blasphemous way.  Now … since we have already been through court and a million calls to the police, and even help from the police to retrieve my kids when he wouldn’t return them… EVEN though NONE of this has had a repercussion on him … he’s gotten smart enough to know that he needs to be careful how he words things in email.

So what happened was that I saw my kiddos – and my son’s face absolutely LIGHT UP when he saw me telling me how excited he was to see me.  (so worth the drive! :).  And my ex said nothing.  We actually wound up having a slight conversation about my daughter not doing well… which can be an interesting post for another day.



6 Responses to “Example of “communicating” with a narcissist “effectively””

  1. dee says:

    I too co parent with my narcissistic ex. Omg he is driving me crazy. Its all about money power and control. He has convinced my son (13) to live with him and to turn on me. He buys my son and lets him do whatever he wants. My son has been gone for 3mths and I rarely see him because my boy is afraid of his dad. Just want to mention that my son has tried to get away from his dad in previous years but because of his age he was always made to return….thanx to our legal system. Anyways, my ex and I have a crt order stating no support will be exchanged. He is now going after me for that which will cause undue hardship for my other 3 kids. My ex is getting off on the stress he is causing me cus I will have to pay him 900 per mth. My son doesnt know what his dad is doing and the only reason my son left my home was for the material items and freedom of rules and responsibility. How the heck do I deal with this sadistic man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He is trying to turn my other kids against me too by bribing them. I feel so helpless in this situation…..im scared to death of losing everything to him.

  2. Mommabeans says:

    I understand the point of the article is to demonstrate effective communication with the NPD co parent, but I would be DAMNED if I ever asked him if I can see my children. Especially if it were at a place he has no legal right to tel me I can’t come or be. I understand the whole, “gotta make it his idea” thing, but there is no way I’m going to ask him if I can come to see my child at school of all places, especially if my child has stated she wanted me to come. NPD ex or NPD ex, Sure honey, don’t you worry about what Dad is going to do about it. There isn’t anything he CAN do about it!

    • thanks for your comment. It sounds like you are in a better place than I was at that time. We have legal court orders and my ex is building a case that I interfere with his court ordered time by seeing the kids on his time. This is why I step carefully in this situation. Also, he has called the cops many times – and this usually is very traumatic for my kids. My ex also blocks any phone calls or contact between my children and I if he gets angry, and this is important to them. They are too young to fight back or sneak calls – and besides my ex has stolen their (my) phones repeatedly.

      I think that if you don’t have that legal battle going – the way that you are approaching it is absolutely wonderful. YOU have the power and aren’t about to be bullied or back down to your ex – which is PERFECT. You’re also conveying that to your daughter, and teaching him to stand up for herself. Kudos to you for this perspective!

  3. Beth says:

    As they grow older and start being involved in school related or other activities, make a point of being present. There is no court system that will bar you from being present at a public event that your child is participating in – a class play, a music concert, soccer game, whatever. You cannot be “taken to court” for being there (heck, you should be applauded for the extra effort). You do not have to have X’s permission to attend, nor do you have to let him know that you plan on attending. After all, it’s not about him, its about them. Let your child know that you will be in the audience. Your child will certainly be looking for you, and it will rock their world that you are there. Let them know ahead of time that you probably won’t speak with them before/after, but that you will catch up with them later (creating less stress for them worrying about parental encounter in a public place – this is not a time for conflict). If X sees you and he looks like he is bent on a confrontation, just put your finger to your lips like shhh and concentrate on your child (ha worked for me). It is soooo important that you attend. Even when they enter the teenage years and pretend that it doesn’t matter to them one way or another, deep down they really need for you to be there. They instinctively hear your voice or your whoo whoo. They will seek you out in the audience and it will give them security and pride. Don’t let the presence of X or the fact that it is his parenting time stop or deter you from attending. You don’t have to engage in any conversation – just slip in and slip out when its all over. Wave and blow a kiss. Give a thumbs up. They’ll be looking for it. Most likely you will have formed relationships with other involved parents in the audience and can share a moment with them. Save the “that was great!” until the kids get home (or text them) to share how nervous or excited they were, you can exclaim about how well they performed, laugh together about oops and other happy moments. You will never regret the time you took, and your child will not forget it. After all, this is how normal, healthy parents interact with their children. Look around and take your cue from them – and don’t worry that you are a divorced parent and that makes you somehow different – you are a parent just like them by being there, everyone sharing in the success of the moment.

    Side benefit – it will drive your narcissistic X crazy because he won’t be able to control the situation and prevent you from being present without looking like a fool in public. And image is everything.

    But then, it’s all about the children….

  4. Danielle says:

    Hi Natalia, this is definitely a hard one. I’m trying to cope with this as well as a newly single parent to two lovely children who both came from my borderline personality/narcissistic ex.

    Coparenting is hard enough… It’s a joy to read your stories.

    • Thank you! I’m so glad to hear that it helps you. I think that the way to deal with someone with a personality disorder is still individual to each person, even though so much of what they do is ‘textbook’ and scarily similar. It helps though to get to a point where we are able to think calmly and thoughtfully about how to respond rather than responding from a place of emotion. For me, it’s been a long time of trying to learn how to do this, and while I may not be perfect – it’s miles ahead of where I was! Best of luck to you.

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