What I do to feel better when coparenting with a narcissist

It’s not easy.  Really, it’s so not easy.  My kids are with their dad this weekend, and this past Wednesday, my daughter woke up wanting to stay under the covers.  She frequently has difficulty in the morning (likely depression, even though she is only 7).  On Wednesday, I reminded her of something good that was to happen that day.  She said “I don’t care about that!  I just don’t want to go with DADDY!”.  Now.. she didn’t need to see him until Thursday evening for dinner, then Friday for the weekend.  It was Wednesday morning and she was already upset about it all.

She finally gets out of the bed – and into the bathroom.   I listen to her make angry noises, kick, stomp, thrash around and hit things.  “I don’t want to go to school!  I don’t want to go with Daddy!”, she yells angrily.  I eventually make it to her and she let me just hold her.  Her eyes have sadness in them so deep it hurts to look at her.  I pray that my love for her and God’s love fills her heart.  She has written on the bathroom tile in crayon “I hate school” and “I hate Daddy”.  I asked her to focus on one step at a time.  Let’s just get dressed, then let’s just eat breakfast, etc.  Only pay attention to what is happening right now.

That helps us to move along, and I eventually drop her off 45 minutes late.  It’s around the 20-something tardy this year.  I’ve already received a letter from the school notifying me and an anonymous ‘social worker” of our tardies (I’m thankful  my ex doesn’t receive this stuff).  At that point, I have to consider that she can’t perform at school without getting past what was going on for her, so even though we’re late – it’s better.  Plus, she’s too big to just pick her up kicking and screaming as I have in years past.

Yesterday, I stayed at the daycare until their Dad picked them up.  He did his normal bullying crap – as he expects me not to see the kids on the days he is supposed to pick them up.  Hmmm…. does he see them because he wants to see his kids, or because he wants to keep them from me?  Whatever… I didn’t respond in any way to him this time, and he let it dissipate.  Good thing too – because he showed up with so much stuff in his car that he couldn’t possibly fit the kids, so I wound up taking something in my car.   Am I too nice?  Maybe… but it keeps my kids safer, so I’ll do it.

Okay… so to get to the title of this post… here’s what I do that I found helps me.  This type of stuff is probably easier to do if you’ve been dealing with a narcissistic personality for a while, or been in the situation for a while.  I feel pretty certain I wasn’t really ready for this mentality when I first started out.  Back then, I would just hold it together until they left, then get into my car and sob.  It hurts to see my kids hurt (even still), but I feel that this new reaction helps us better.

Here’s what I do:

1.  Vision board.   There are plenty of websites, books and articles on doing these.  I made a vision board at home – I took a canvas, and then taped together the pictures of what I want in my future.  I have mine divided into quadrants:  my kids and I happily together without constraints on our freedom to do what we want.  Another corner about family & friends and seeing them often.  A third about a career I envision, and a fourth about romance and finding the right person and having a good relationship that gives my kid’s a good example.

Over time, I’ve gotten my vision board into a few bulleted items, and hold it mentally.  It’s changed too – to be even more focused on all the good that would be in our lives, instead of the bad that wouldn’t be there.  It’s subtle, but important.

I even have an unpublished page on this site that describes my future as it has already occurred – and being thankful for those answered prayers.

2.  Think about what makes you feel good.   The basic premise of the “law of attraction” is that we attract into our lives the things that we focus on.   It’s similar to the “self-fulfilling prophecy”.  We’ve all seen it or known someone who is totally afraid of something and then that same thing happens to them.  So, instead of focusing on the yucky part (like what happened above), I replace those thoughts with visions of my kids doing well.  I know that some may say I’m “fooling myself”…. but at least I feel happier and can more positively deal with “what is”, right now.

3.  Lovingly forgive and bless my ex.   (what???)  As a ‘victim’ of abuse – I felt it was necessary for me to let go of the anger I held inside.  Emotions can eventually cause illness (think about what stress does to you).  Forgiveness is important for the person who is forgiving, not for the person who is forgiven.  In my case, my ex has no idea he’s been forgiving!.  The other thing that I have been working on for years – is to get his voice out of my head.  I would find him criticizing me even when he wasn’t present, years after he moved out. I worried about what he would say or how he would react for almost everything that I did.  I realize now that doing that is ‘giving my power” to him, rather than ’empowering’ me.

Now, when I have thoughts of him or worry about whether he will twist around the decisions I am making on parenting our kids, I think “peace be unto you”, and chose to think about other things.   This technique I owe to Joseph Murphy and “the power of the subconscious”.  (I can discuss later how I see these various perspectives as being completely in alignment with Christian beliefs.  It’s in the bible as well).

Lastly, I make it a point a couple times a day to center myself (i.e. to sit quietly and focus only on the moment), and I say a mantra to myself about what I chose my life to look like.  I thank God for all he gives us and know that everything we have comes to us through him.  I also thank all the saints, angels that help us – as well as Mary (she’s a wonderful source of inspiration), Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  I make sure that I remember how much we are supported every day – and then when I start facing the other things I need to do, I feel more happy and supported and know that “only good is going to come into our lives”.

I hope this helps to share this!



2 Responses to “What I do to feel better when coparenting with a narcissist”

  1. Present says:

    This is awesome! I try to do all of those things, although am not very good at #3… But getting there, trying to remember that even negative thoughts of him are really wasting precious energy and “space in my mind.” My kids also have the same response your daughter does when they are about to go to their dad’s, only in a teenager-ish way. =) Have you read or heard anything you can recommend on being respectfully assertive towards a narcissistic, abusive person? I’d like to be more that way myself, and teach my kids the same thing, as they are the ones who have to deal with him more often…

    • Thank you! I did write up one post about being assertive, and will be adding more soon. It is soooo critical. It also must be terrifying to try to be assertive as a child or teenager with someone who is that much older/bigger and potentially rages with anger.

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