The narcissists ultimate revenge – taking the children

I was thinking today about my past with my narcissistic ex.  When our first child was born, he moved away (FAR away) for a ‘new job’.  I stayed behind.  I worked full time, had our daughter in daycare.  It was a transition to go to being in a relationship to what was essentially a married but single parent.  I had to learn a new lifestyle – and even though I often felt alone on weekends by myself with my infant daughter, I still treasured having the time to spend with her as the weekdays were filled with work.

When my ex (then husband) would be with us in town, he wanted me to have a babysitter for our daughter on Saturday’s – so we could go play golf together.  Not just a quick round – but the kind where we hit balls for an hour, then play out a round (5 hours), then a drink & snack before driving back home.  I didn’t want to do this, as I felt that I spent 50 hours away from her during the week while I was working & commuting.  My life changed when she was born, and it was okay with me that it didn’t involve golf for now.  My ex was resentful that it took away attention from what he wanted to do.

I remember one of his first father’s day’s.  He left to play golf by himself.  I was there with our daughter – and said “don’t you want to spend father’s day with your daughter?”  He said “I want to do what I want to do.  I want to play golf”, and he left.  I didn’t know anything about narcissism at the time – in fact, I had never heard of the word.  I did know, though, that his actions were plain messed up.

Once upon a time, he told me he was glad to have children so he had someone to play golf with him.  But what if they don’t want to play golf?  Doesn’t matter… they will play with me.  Why not have friends who you play golf with?  Oh yeah… narcissists don’t really have friends….. or well… at least not my ex (who probably also has antisocial issues).

It’s ironic and painful, though, what he did in revenge.  In the end – he took me to court and he won the trial for ‘every other weekend’.  This same father who didn’t want to be with his daughter for father’s day – just won every other weekend with his kids.  Why?  To get even with me by taking away my children from the time that I treasured most with them – the weekends.

It’s something I have to come to terms with and accept, and at times I think I have, but then there are the times when my kids are crying and complaining about having to go with him – and I realize how much resentment I have still in my body for this person who is ruining both my life and my children’s lives.  I once heard the phrase “you can accept a situation without finding it acceptable”.  I don’t find this acceptable, but I accept that it is what it is for right now.


9 Responses to “The narcissists ultimate revenge – taking the children”

  1. brandi says:

    hey chantel when you say he doesn’t abuse your children but he emotionally abuses you- it prompts me to say that is not possible. trying to turn your children against you is abusive to them. it is child abuse to lie, to take their energy in any way by confusing them lying to them etc. mine loves to violate my childrens’ space- he rewards them for this through play, candy and buying them things- it appears as being “kind” it is all a play for energy as he wants to control and manipulate them he wants to get to me any way he can- it used to feel better to me to think “well at least he plays w my kids and is a good dad” nooooo. denial. i am out of it. yes w/ natalie’s children it is different because he is so blatantly abusive- your children will see him for what he chooses eventually but you need to see clearly first. what does it “feel” like? not what does it “look”

    • Chantal says:

      You’re right, Brandi- he may be directing the abuse towards me, yet he uses the kids as tools to hurt me and that is a form of abuse towards them! It is just hard for others to see this. I can relate to falling prey to that kind of thinking- that he’s a good day, he plays with the kids. In the case of my ex, I’d say he mostly just buys their love with toys. He’ll play with my eldest son with his legos and video games because he actually enjoys that stuff. I KNOW he’s far from a good dad, but I will admit he cares for his children. But even that ‘love’ for them is twisted. Like Natalia wrote in one of her posts, the children are almost like objects or ‘pets’ to these narcissistic men! They don’t know how to truly love them, it’s a selfish kind of love they have where they simply want the children for their own gratification and sense of ‘completeness’, you know? Anyways, not sure where I was going with this LOL. I guess I just wanted to say I am very well aware of how thes men work- appearing to be ‘fun’ and good to the kids. It really is all games and manipulation on their part!!

    • brandi says:

      Yes very well said- their lack of “completeness” is what drives them to seek our children as extensions of themselves.- obviously you are all to aware of this! i love how these people are being exposed- because it is what is best for everyone involved even them. it IS difficult for others to see, isn’t it just natural for us to believe that people are good for the most part, then seek that good out in people?- i certainly notice that if i focus on his behavior i am disturbed andfeel stuck, if i am focused on my response and own inner work i move forward- it is just so hard to remove myself from my hypervigilant mama-bear mode- how do we move from protecting our children to trusting their own abilities and ways of responding to the twisted messed up-ness of npd abuse- and is it possible to do both? i don’t know how to not protect my children!

      • Do we have to not protect our children? I guess I would like to believe that I can focus on both protecting my children as well as my own inner work and personal growth at the same time. In my opinion, our children are depending on us – since even adults are reluctant (as we were) to see the issues that personality disorders have and their impact on our children — certainly our children can’t recognize the impact it has on them. They need us to protect them and teach them to protect themselves from it.

  2. Chantal says:

    Thanks Natalia, I like your advice about encouraging ‘gut checks’. I had a bad exchange with the ex tonight, where he started arguing and putting me down in front of the kids, so I used your advice afterwards to help my son see that to me, the most important thing is that he is well taken care of, and while his dad and I may not agree on what is best for him and his brother, it is not about who’s right and who’s wrong. I got the sense in talking with my son that he feels all our arguing is is a power struggle- I don’t want him thinking that. Definitely will be following up with my son more regularly from now on! As for not reacting to my ex- you’re so right but boy is that hard! I do try though!

    • Hey there… You are so right about how hard it is not to react. There are years of built up emotion in our bodies from being put down, disregarded, disparaged to our children and other people, living in crazy-making land, etc. I admittedly lost it at my ex tonight for failing to communicate where he was with our kids when he was 3.5 hours late and not responding to my calls or texts (and not allowing our daughter to have her phone so he can further control communication). I guess the key is to try our best, acknowledge our emotions, give ourselves internal high fives when we navigate a situation well, and unconditional love no matter what. And on that note – way to go on checking in with your son on how it felt to him! High five! 🙂

  3. Chantal says:

    (Oops sorry for the typos! ‘sorry they live in fear of their DAD’ and ‘they are in danger of following in HIS footsteps’ :))

  4. Chantal says:

    Hi Natalia! I found your site by chance and I am soo glad I did! I’ve been reading article after article and it’s so encouraging to see I’m not the only one dealing with such a difficult, disfunctional ex day in and day out!! Thanks so much for all the tips and encouragement! Please keep writing!
    I have to say I don’t believe all narcissists are the same (not all have rage). While my ex has never abused the children in any way, I’ve received a lot of emotional abuse from him. The children love their dad but they do NOT see the facade he puts on and the manipulation he uses. He’ll use the children to manipulate, for example telling them “mommy doesn’t want me to see you tonight” or “ask your mom to bring you to Toys R Us to meet me there (when he knows I won’t/can’t that day)”. Once my son had his dad on speakerphone and he asked him if I was in the room. I confirmed I was so he said to me “I have no idea why you’re keeping the boys away from me.” It aggravates me to no end and makes me sick that he uses the children this way! I’ve read a bit about parental alienation and I believe he does a form of this by trying to turn the kids against me.
    I truly am sorry your children live in fear of their ex, but believe me, it is almost better this way, that they see his true colors! I pray my boys will one day see the type of man their father really is. I fear they are in danger of following in their foot steps because they are growing up (esp my eldest) idolizing their dad and not realizing he is not a stable, normal person. I hate to put down their father to them, but I want my children to see him for who he is! Do I just let them discover this on their own, hoping they won’t grow up disfunctional like him? It is so hard!!
    Thanks again for all your posts!

    • Thanks for the comment – and pointing out some things I leave out, too. You are right – not all narcissists rage the same way. My ex has borderline traits as well as some antisocial as well. He is also likely dealing with bipolar disorder as well, but it’s not diagnosed, so I don’t know for sure. I’m sorry you have to deal with your ex’s disparaging comments. I have a number of thoughts and reference points, and will do a post on it. Specific to your situation – notice how your ex made sure you were in the room to say that he doesn’t know why you keep him from the kids? Seems like he’s saying it to get the reaction out of you. There may be also be a possible need for him to want to feel acknowledged by you as well (‘see, I’m a good dad… I’m having a good conversation with my kid… why keep me from this?’). Anyway – short of it is – don’t react to him. Ask your kids later how it felt for them when they heard that, and help build their emotional awareness of the situation. Then they can use ‘gut checks’ later. Stay strong!

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