Children’s Behavior after Visitation with Narcissistic Parent

When my kids started spending more than a few hours with their dad, I noticed that their behavior changed – significantly.  They became more sensitive, grumpy, controlling, angry (omg …. yes, angry), more physical hitting of each other and more issues with sleeping (unable to fall asleep, nightmares).  There were also regressive behaviors – more toileting accidents and desires to do infantile behavior.  There was also clinginess…  the inability for me to walk 10 feet away without them running behind, sometimes in pure worry.

I noticed that they would settle back to “normal” after about a week of not seeing their father.  If the visit wasn’t too bad (not much anger on his part), then they would settle down within a few days.  If it was really bad and he was very angry during a visit, then it could take almost the entire two weeks that we had before they saw him again.  Now – they do see him for a mid week dinner visit, which could also upset the apple cart as well.  The big upsets were (are) the weekends.

The day I spoke to my attorney about it and she told me that she hears this from many parents in my shoes with similar ex’s, it was such a relief.  It was so easy for me to wonder if I was just seeing things, or if my imagine was making things up (especially because this is what my ex proclaims).   I did, however, keep a calendar log and could see how the behaviors played out.  By the time we reached “our weekend”, things could start to flow and the more “easy going” nature of my children would reappear.  My attorney said she had another client who’s children only have supervised visitation every other weekend for a few hours – and the primary custodial parent notices this herself.

The other factor that comes into play is when people would say “but my kids do the same behavior, and we’re not divorced”.  Ok, true… it is hard to tell what behavior is “normal” and would exist no matter what and what behavior is caused by the disruption in routine & care and replaced with a very different style of parenting.  The reason why I had come to think that they were related, though, was the way that I journaled it and saw a pattern.

A friend of mine and I were texting last evening, and she said her son returned from his father seeming very depressed.  I had noticed myself when I saw her son the day prior that he was sullen, and not his jovial self.  My friend doesn’t label her son’s father as narcissistic, but I have seen his raging behavior and read the really mentally messed up emails he sends her.   His behaviors mirror my ex’s.

My point in writing this post is to share the “ah-ha” that I had the day I spoke with my attorney.  Maybe this will help someone else who has wondered if the behavior change is real or imagined.

58 Responses to “Children’s Behavior after Visitation with Narcissistic Parent”

  1. Maria says:

    This is exactly what has started with my 7yr old daughter! He has starded shared custody 8months ago, with a violent /agressive / drunken confrontation at my house 6 mnth ago at my house.since then I have seen a drastic change..esp her being cheeky to me.. back answering… going off in a huff… when she comes back from her dads.. i read another mum saying the samen she tries cuddle time when they get back from his n try doing something fun to get them out of that frame. She reads ‘texts from dogs’ which i tought was a great idea.
    I try my hardest to give her love when she comes back, but find myself having to set boundries for her too whenshe is like this, which is hard… but i know its whats best..
    Its so hard dealing with her narcist dad for me, not to mind her..he is in the destroy me phase, which entails him destroying hiself too unfortunetly…. i have moved on but he is stuck in hate mode…so sad..

  2. Jean says:

    I literally just googled “why do my kids act strange when returning from my ex”. My kids are teens and it affects them too. In the beginning of the divorce process (while he was living here and dating, spending a total of 5 days with the kids in 2 months) I sought therapy because the conditions in my home were just brutal. My therapist couldn’t diagnose my ex, but suspected he has a cluster B personality disorder. It’s amazing how easily he twists things and plays the victim to our children. I divorced him because he was a serial cheater, (spends thousands on sex workers) yet somehow he was the victim. He also tells them what a horrible mother I am to them and how I broke their spirits when they were little. It’s like I have to spend a whole week deprogramming them from lies when they get home. I’m not a perfect parent, but I’m certainly not the monster he likes to paint me as. I really wish there was a guide to assist in dealing with this.

  3. AMBER-ROSE says:

    I have a 8yr old and 6 yr old. They both go to there dad’s on Every other weekend and every other Holliday every spring break and one week during winter break and every other week during the summer.
    They come back and my 8 yr old hits kicks runs away try to bite yells at me tells me I hate you I don’t want u. Then my 6yr old she fine when she gets home then starts to not listen they both wet bed as well. Is that Normal dies anyone go through this what should I do.

  4. Worried says:

    Me and my ex have been seperated for 6 yrs . My son has a lot of anger and the older he gets the more it happens and its daily .he has a.d.d. and takes medication sine he started school he is now 9 .he recently told me he here voices could it be he’s having trouble with his dad not living with us .

  5. Joyce says:

    My fiancee daughter will be 3 yes old In Dec and her mom has supervised visit’s and it’s bI weekly for only couple of hours b4 she got these visits I got her to start using the potty and eat like she should and got her to talk more and say more words then daddy and no.. well since the visits she stopped using the potty and stopped eattin like she should so we give her those pediatric shakes.. she has an attitude and she hits and bites and not sure but she seems to go backwards then forwards.. ik that she lost custody of her other five kids and b4 she left she would leave her in her room all day only time was to change her.. and put her back in her room used a baby gate to keep her in her room and want nothing to do with her… now she’s trying to want something to do with her since me and my fiancee got together and she plays mommy with her boyfriend’s daughter… so not sure what to do… his mom said that she came out of her she’ll and is doing alot better since I came in the picture…

  6. Rebecca says:

    My son is 7 and has been with his father on weekends when he was younger even as a baby they would send him home a complete mess , explosive diareah every Sunday night to the point where I insisted they were giving him exlax just to make me have more work to do. THIS escalate as the child grew up and could talk into tantrums, regression on milestones and refusing to eat for days. Around Wednesday he would turn back into his sweet self and be really good. When he was 6 his dad was able to manipulate the court by working for years to destroy my life . Now the child is with him Wednesday night through Sunday and it is heartbreaking the emotional toll it takes on the boy and he has no recovery time . He tries to get home by taking the wrong bus but he fears his father and will blame someone. He is put through going to drug festivals and all kids of disturbing party life. I pray I can save my child and end this abuse once and for all.

  7. kathy hilgart says:

    I too go threw this…what can you do legally????? My ex and his new wife are both narc personality and are expecting anither child. First tigether fir them. They cant even handle the 3 they have. They also tend to have domestic disputes frequently and police are contacted. I want to get them away but its been such a ness with court and lawyer costs…any ideas?

  8. Rosemary says:

    I am hoping to gain some insight on how this should be handled – a bit of background:

    I have 2 daughters, ages 9 and 10. There is court ordered supervised visitation for 4 hours Sat and 4 hours Sun, every other weekend. Visits are supervised by me. The court order is very old, entered over 9 years ago, when my children were still babies. However, the visitation remains supervised because father cannot behave himself – long standing history of physical abuse on all his wives and previous children, drinking/other risky behavior, no stability (bounces from job to job, wife to wife, house to house). There have been holes in the girls lives where he just wouldn’t see them for months at a time, one time went 18 months, and when he came back, things were ugly. He felt entitled to having the very kids he had thrown away so many times before, and when I asked him to prove that he was stable enough to see them, he responded by bringing the cops to my doorstep. Since he’s been back in their lives, there have been plenty of ups and downs. My oldest adored her father for the longest time, and after some time, I was grateful he was back in their lives. But then, true to form, abused his newest wife until she could take no more, and since then, the girls seem to be his punching bag. The visits are supervised, so no physical abuse, but I give them enough space so that they can have their visit without me interfering. Things are being said and implied out of my line of sight/earshot – he threatens to spank them or hit them with the belt – then says he was just joking. This is his MO. He used to do the same with me – it’s how he got me to “comply”. (He once threatened to break both of my arms “jokingly”. 2 weeks later, the physical abuse started, and the kids and I were gone a week after THAT). He has forbidden them to talk about his ex-wife/their former step-mom, who they had gotten very attached to because he insisted on bringing her to each visit. For 3 years now, my youngest who is now 9, has been saying she doesn’t want to see her father because he is “mean and scary”. I have, for 3 years, been encouraging her to go, saying that this is his time with her and encouraging her to go and at least try to have fun. I have been documenting all these incidents, without the girl’s knowledge. A few months ago, it came to a head after one of these visits where the kids came back upset because their father had made a bunch of threatening and cruel “jokes” – I had already told him to cut that out – and I told him one more incident and I’d be taking it to court. He seemed willing to work with me to put a stop to it. We had a meeting, he, the kids, and I, where the kids told him how this made them feel, and he resolved to stop. but the damage has been done. He hasn’t called names or made any threat-of-harm “jokes” since then, but my 9 year old has just had it, I think. She confided to me the other day that she doesn’t feel that he cares about her, or any of his other kids, and she doesn’t want him, or want to see him. She doesn’t understand why a father would treat her this way – it contrasts everything else she knows in her life – she has a loving relationship with my parents, with me, with her sister, even with her half brothers from one of his ex’s. I really am starting to feel like there is no bond there, due to him being absent so much in her younger years, and then he comes back and is cruel and ugly to her. I’m feeling beat up and don’t know what to do. She wants me to terminate visitation with her father – she is adamant about not going because he is mean and ugly and uncaring and nothing we have done has changed his behavior. But on the other hand, he is her father, and has a right to see her – court-ordered rights. I realize that the obvious answer is to go back to court to modify visitation. He did, in fact, take me back to court 2 1/2 years ago, mediation w/ attorneys present was the doctor’s orders that time. I went and paid my mediation fees, and contacted the mediator per the order. He did not. As a result, the case was closed. Truthfully, I can’t afford an attorney at this time, and I’m inclined to just hang in there and continue forcing her to go until she can speak on her own behalf (I think the age is 12 or 13 in my state). I’m also considering counseling for my youngest to help her work through these issues and feelings. Is there anything else I can do? I’m not a psychologist, but I’m pretty sure we’re dealing with a narcissist/sociopath father, and there is no reasoning with him. He changes colors just to suit the occasion, then reneges as soon as nobody’s looking. I’m hoping someone with a similar experience can help.
    **PS – no trolling, please. I’m seriously trying to help my child. Thank you.

  9. Kenneth Baker says:

    I have full custody of my daughter. And since visitation started I feel all the work we put in gas reversed

  10. Concerned momma says:

    My kids are displaying the same tendencies. I’m wondering if there is anything I can do to keep them away because of the long term damage that this will cause emotionally.

  11. Monica says:

    Everytime my step son comes back from moms it seems as if hos anxiety getting worse. Not to mention his mothers boyfriend beat him and now has restraining order. The mother continues to be involved with the boyfriend. When i asked my step son what does he do when he is wirh mom he said i dont see her much she leaves to go with her boyfriend. When he comes with us my boyfriend gives him ebverything and lets him play games all night. His blinking and clearing throat are getting worse. Now he wants all attention all the time not to mention he is in 5th grade.

  12. Ben Marsh says:

    This behaviour is very normal, the fact that you are looking for all these things and keeping journals is only exacerbating the situation. Children are obviously going to get anxious about seeing the non-resident parent, especially if their Mum (resident) is anxious herself, they project your emotions. If you don’t worry they will not worry as much, tell them it’s normal to be anxious and they will grow up to be more resilient to anxiety.

  13. CCW says:

    ThAnk you for your post.

  14. Jessica says:

    When my daughter who is 19 months old goes to her father’s on his week visitation . Who by the way isn’t a pleasant man. He want even help me with his daughter at all. He was ordered by the judge to pay 53 dollars a week for child support which isn’t much anyways and he hasn’t even done that. Then When my baby girl comes home from one of the houses he is staying at. she screams and hits and she acts out and she wakes up crying at night. She is scared to get off the bed by herself like someone told her there was something under her bed. She hardly ever speaks the word mom, and that hurts a lot but I know it’s not her fault. But anyway by the middle of the week when she is with me she is back to normal happy sleeping all night and she gets off the bed fine. But it takes her a while for her to say mom. Its always daddy. I don’t know what’s wrong or what he says or does when she is with him but I really feel like he is trying to put stuff in her mind that a baby her age should hear. But her father doesn’t care.

  15. Sue says:

    I’m struggling with my son he and his girlfriend had a little baby boy in 2013 they moved back home here with me the mother of the son prior to the delivery she never was a Hands-On mama she just had no connection to the baby, plus my son was limited to his emotions toward his son, so me the grandmother raised the baby from day one in my home the mama died on January 4, of 2015 my son had been messing around with another girl about a month before her death but she died in her sleep laying next to him in bed anyway, not even 30 days into her death he is seeing another girl and she’s got two children a nine year old daughter and a four year old daughter the nine year old daughter was taken away by her ex-boyfriend and he has full custody of that daughter and now the four-year-old is in a court battle cuz the ex-boyfriend of that daughter wants full custody to make a long story short my son abandoned his son here in my home for over a year living with his girlfriend and then came over here one day on his 3rd birthday took him out of my home with just the clothes on his back, left all my grandson’s belongings here and never brought him back now my grandson is displaying aggressiveness emotional struggles he has become timid I’ve seen my son slap on him for no reason other than he’s in charge he’s the boss he has no empathy for my grandson I went over to their house the other day for the first time in I couldn’t tell you how long because I’m not allowed to see my grandson now, I’m too soft with him he needs to be whipped and kept in line as my son puts it I just had this terrible gut feeling something is terribly wrong and I couldn’t put my finger on it so I just dropped in, I feel the girlfriend is trying to control my grandson erace all memory of me as his grandmother and replacing me with her mother because she’s always wanted a grandson, my grandson was elated to see me they have told the children in that home that I am a bad person. My son he is very hostile toward my grandson and I don’t know where it comes from other than I think he has emotional problems from the past he never talked to anyone about the mother’s death plus he’s receiving parenting skills from the girlfriend and her record is a little tarnished I mean the whole nine yards I’m very scared for my grandson in one afternoon visit at this house of the girlfriend I witnessed the daughter taking her foot to the back of my grandson’s head to his neck area and pounding it into the floor with her foot, I screamed at the little girl and the mother said what’s wrong I said did you see what your daughter just did and she goes oh well I didn’t see it and I know by the actions of the little girl it is not the first time this has been happening I witnessed bruises on my grandson lip and nose and I was told he ran into the wall with the little girl that lives there too, there’s just a lot of hostile screaming going on by the four year old and pushing and shoving my grandson, she’s going through her own traumatic time between the mother and the ex-boyfriend going back and forth to each houses and all the fighting going on in court and out of court with the two of them and I am very scared for my little three-year-old grandson he has lost his Spirit he has lost his identity he trembles he’s very timid My son is very hard on him and they limit his water intake all day long and he can only have a drink of water after he eats, breakfast lunch and dinner he can have no fluids in between whatsoever and they don’t allow him to take a-nap I mean it is a very hostile environment and I am stricken with pain in my heart and I don’t know what to do you know when I was over there within a half hour he climbs into my lap and says Grandma we go home now I mean he’s begging me to go home with me, he is so unhappy you know I know my son is his father but my grandson does not recognize him as the person to protect him to love him to nurture him because my son does not display those emotions he thinks it’s weak for a man to show these traits, I was the only adult that raised him from 0 to 3 years old and my son wants to just erase that out of my grandson’s mind and it’s brutal and it’s inhuman my son is very hostile to my grandson he acts like he’s talking to an equal adult with his harshness of words he mimics my grandson like when he’s emotional and he cries my son will act like A 3 year old and start crying imitating my grandson and then he’ll call him a wimp and tell him to quit acting like that. Those are his exact words the girlfriend, my son curses the day that I was there I just was overwhelmed with all the screaming and the fighting the little girl did with my grandson every time he picked up a toy she would snatch it from him and then when he would try to stand his ground she would scream at the top of her lungs that’s all I heard the whole afternoon. And when they drink they get hard on those children what am I supposed to do as a grandmother and of a person who raised this child for three years I mean all his belongings are in his bedroom in my house clothing toys bedding everything and it it just rips my heart out I don’t know what to do. That late afternoon I caught that little girl laying on her bed she had her top pulled up above her chest she had her pants pulled down and she had my grandson rubbing her privates and she rubbing her boobies and was making vocativ sounds talking to him and when I walked in on this that little girl knew she was in trouble so this is not the first time this has been taking place they were upstairs with no supervision when I walked up there because it was real quiet this is what I came acrossed I don’t know how I should handle this a few months ago my son and I went to an attorney and he had a document drawn up saying that if he could not raise his child that I would have custody. Now I’m asking do I have rights here to try to do something about this whole toxic situation I need someone to talk to please…

  16. Felicity says:

    My narsassistic ex and I have two children together . I have three sons my eldest was from prior relationship. I could not put a label on what was happening to my son when he was 3yes old and my infant son was 3 months old. I learned that he was cheating and had been through my entire pregnancy. When I found out I told him to leave and he moved in with his girlfriend. He’s been gone for 2 weeks and taking all his things so I change the locks. He ended up breaking into the house while we were there and physically assaulting me when I call the police he went outside and waited for them and he told them I hit his car with a tire iron. The police road report about me hitting the car which wasn’t true instead of arresting him for assault. I was driving to court malicious injury to property was the charge however the prosecutor happened to listen to the 911 recordings which included the assault on me and he apologized and dropped the charges. I had gone to the court to ask for protection order somehow my ex got wind and showed up at the courthouse and said he needed a protection order for me. The imbecile judge ordered nesting where the parents took turns being in the home every other week. At thre time my infant son was about be undergo open heart surgery and he was on oxygen. I begged the judge to take this into account as well as the fact that my ex has already moved out of the home but he refused to hear me. The first week out of the hospital I have to give my three month old baby son to my ex and his 21year old girlfriend. That same week despite the judge having said don’t take anything out of the house except for your personal clothing my ex and his girlfriend empty our 2800 square foot home, they took everything I couldn’t cook a meal I had nowhere to sleep they even took the baby’s crib. The week on week off continued with my children going to the girlfriend’s house he prevented me from speaking to our three-year-old during this time even though I was allowed to call from 7 to 8 he would refuse to answer the phone until 7:55 and then the girlfriend would go “its 8 o’clock ” and make my son hang up. At 3 years old my son would say you know what Felicity goodbye” and hang up on me, and our infant son would come home in a dirty onesie instead of the clothing I had bought for him. When Mother’s Day came along and I went to get them they were both dressed and in what amounted to underwear despite me having told him we were going to a barbecue. When my 3yr old came home he would rage for over a week. The order expired 90 days later and I stopped the visits immediately. I moved I refused to have any contact with my ex but he hunted me down and filed for 50% custody that aottle cost me $7,000, and he ended up being extradited to a different state to be prosecuted for not paying child support for his other children so the case was dismissed. I did not realize I was dealing with a narcissist I didn’t understand what my ex was I thought he was bipolar. I had no clue . We reconciled several times over the years and it was always the same, then I got into therapy and slowly began to recognize what he is. He is even now trying to reconcile with me, he has cancer, and his mother his only constant supply passed away in November and he is very alone in the world. 16 years ago and if I hadknow then what I know now I would have handled it much differently the first thing would be to make sure I had a lawyer even if it was through legal aid.
    There’s a lot of information out there about dealing with a narcissist how to leave a narcissist but when you have children it’s a whole different experience don’t feel powerless your children depend on you to set an example of healthy sane behavior you have to give them that when they are with you. That means therapy of some sort the narcissist has a way of damaging your soul you have to get it back. Good luck to you if you’re reading this and your children are raging when they come back from seeing your ex just love them make sure they know that there’s nothing they have to do to earn that love give them no doubt just unconditional love and then get them in therapy counseling something because the consequences of dealing with a narcissistic parent can be devastating to children.

  17. Donnie says:

    I have this with my two year old son. I took his mother to court for any visitation at all. She refused to let me see him except when she really needed something despite me starting a case with ORS. After $15,000+ in lawyer fees, court fees, me paying a custody evaluator, a psych evaluator, and the mediator at the conference that required that she be in another room, the evaluator recommended that I have sole custody. Imagine a father getting THAT in Utah.
    Anyway, she was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. After 5 hours in mediation at $200/hour for my lawyer and $200/hour for the mediator, I thought it best to not rip my son away from his siblings from another father and cause a dramatic change, I agreed to joint custody with the caveat that she be in regular sessions for help for her BPD and prove it by March 1. Well, the lovely lawyer at (mumble under breath and include never use them again) screwed up the court order. It states that she get therapy by March 1. That’s it. Low and behold, my son’s BPD mother got help for depression and anxiety by a clinical psychologist. I paid a lawyer at Open Legal Services a $75 consult. Best advice ever. Keep track of everything: behavior changes, lack of co-parenting, etc. Well, at times that I drop my son off and he rejects his mother (sometimes he cries and yells NO when I or my girlfriend even mention mommy), he comes back with bad behavior. He whines a lot, screams at my gf and I, and sometimes has tantrums. One time she convinced my son to say “hello (my name)” when he is always excited to see me saying daddy. He doesn’t call me daddy around her any more.
    I need to know when it is best to take her to court again. Unfortunately my credit cards are at their limits due to the lawsuit. But, the court order states that if a party causes problems that they get to pay all court and lawyer fees.
    His mother is getting worse. She was pissed today, demanding that I have “her” son back on time Monday (mind you, I was late once by about 20 seconds) in all of the times that I dropped him off for the past 21 months when I finally got to see my son with minimum statute visitation) and threw our son’s jacket at me.
    Our son is almost 31 months old so isn’t the best at telling a lawyer what goes on while with mommy.
    Our schedule is week 1: Wed. through Saturday night 7 pm to 7 pm. Week 2: Tues. through Thurs. nights 7 pm to 7 pm. I wish that I dared to be more flexible with her, but she despises me and I get a lot of reminders of why I kept going to court and paying everything after getting minimum physical, joint legal. I don’t want to take my son out of his mother’s life, but it breaks my heart leaving him with her, especially when she is in one of her moods and he is crying for daddy.

  18. A survivor says:

    Love this website, looks like we merried the same guy! I am glad I was the one who filled for divorce but sadly this antisocial Psicopath Narssissit managed to demand contact to see the kids to abused them and hurt them every single time he have them boys are 5 and 8 and finally they won’t take any more abuse from him and his girlfriend who’s hurt physically my kids. Both kids refused to see him without supervision sadly my battle with injustice still on and I am back to court again and again for enforcement contact as my ex keeps taking me to court for not allowing him to have the children without supervision! I was hoping his new girlfriend would keep him busy but obviously he keeps busy trying to control me and hurt me with the kids every time he hurts them.
    Having a divorce under domestic abuse teaches me the abuser will continue his abuse with his own kids but glad my little ones are talking now and defending themselves. I always will protect my kids and fight against abuse. The kids deserve to be respect and protect they know right and wrong and they know now is not ok to be hitting, slapping and emotional abuse by their father. I hope and pray for the judge to see the abuser and not the “charming gentleman” he usually plays at the court. Glad barrister deals with this narssissit all the time and they know their games.

  19. Manuel says:

    As a father myself that sees his kids every other weekend (cause I have to work) :(, seems correct in my own own children.
    But I also don’t really understand why they don’t like going to thier moms house either.
    I mean I get the “call” her telling me the same thing that’s happening to you.
    But going to an attorney to handle you’re family problems is called being a narsasistist yourself.
    Why we “all” as patents need to sit down and have a general talk with our children and not just run to the legal system to fight our battles for us.
    Try it, it works.

  20. This exact pattern has happened with me and my children for the past two years since I left with them. I often feel like I am paying for his continued bad choices, ‘cleaning up his mess.’ it makes me say things to my kids sometimes that I regret – especially when they use words that I feel sound like their father’s. I fear for them, and it makes me angry. But I continue to try my very best, as you clearly do, too. Thank you for sharing the first of thousands of such accounts i’ve seen that so precisely mirrors my experience.

  21. Jo says:

    Thank you all for your posts. I often feel alone and that no-one understands. Very few do. 6 years later I am still dealing with the affects and abuse of the sociopath/narcissist. Still in and out of court and even though he has a wrap sheet of criminal acts against women (2 other orders of protection and violates them) and through supv-visits found out where my son goes to school and attempted to abduct him (finally got an order of protection for that) he still gets supervised visits. Trouble is the facility is horrible, they’re forceful, my son cries and hides behind chairs for 45 min not to go in saying “I don’t want to go in!” “no one can help me” and I cannot say anything or they’ll report that I am interfering with the visit. They allow and encourage the father to bribe the child with presents and games to get him in (similar to a “come see my puppy in my white van” tactics) This has been the case for a year and they still report that it is my influence that the child doesn’t like his visits. I am honest with my son and suffer when he suffers so yes I tell him we don’t have a choice and that he has to go to the visits but try to have fun and not stress. My son has even blamed me and said “why can’t you help me” “tell them mommy I don’t like him” but I am limited with what I can say and do. I am always the bad guy. I guess many of you are in similar boats. SUCKS. I don’t know anyone in this predicament except for the posts like on this site. I pray for all the kids and that they turn out ok in life. And I pray for the parents in similar situations like mine – be strong and don’t give up. The law is not on our side – contrary to most beliefs. The courts are flawed and only want to enforce the rights of the non-custodial parent at any detrimental cost to the child even when they know psychological and physical abuse is and has been present.

  22. Ursula says:

    I hear you, thank you for this post, I am noticing my son’s behaviour after 3 or 4 days with his father he is sullen, withdrawn. I feel that I am being subtly alienated. And the father does it in such a way that he can not be held responsible. If I said anything he would tell me it’s all in my head ( you know the usual). Anyway thanks again, it is a small comfort to me to know it is happening to others.

  23. Emily says:

    Yes! My son is 2 and the little amount of time he is around his dad (who is awful and has never done anything to help raise our son) has such an empact on him. It usually only last a day or two though. My son will throw the biggest fits all day especially when it comes time for bed. He will run around the house screaming and hitting his head on the wall throwing himself on the floor trying get to bite me or hit me whatever he can do. And he’s normally an angel! I never have any problems with him until the day he comes back from his dads. It makes me wonder if having his dad in his life really is the best thing going for him!

  24. vicki says:

    My 3 children go to their fathers every other weekend. They are 9.13 and 16. We have had friday 5pm to sunday 7pm arrangement for 6 years
    The problem is he refuses to be flexible and if i ask if he can have them sunday night and i pick them up 7am monday he gors into am abusive rage. He is such a reluctant father. We agreed on child maintenace which he has cut down now only pays $150 per month which is what he says he can afford. If i ask for him to have the kids any extra day he says he cant because hes always working. But cant pay a resonable child maintenve because he has no work. Im so sick of taking his verbal abuse. I feel like cutting him out but wouldnt do that to my kids. He seems to enjoy ranting at me but i now only text to try to avoid confrontation. Any ideas would be welcome

    • Tobe says:

      What does the law say he should be paying for support? Every man is so different. Mine has been paying support with some hick ups and complaining but he won’t take the kids on the schedule. He sees them 1 or 2x a week just a few hours. Doesn’t like them on weekends cause interferes with his time friend time and of courting others. Always something with these guys

    • Claire says:

      I thought my son’s father was a narcissist took a different level and recently came across the tem Sadistic Aggressive Personality Disorder. Look it up. The descriptions of your ex sound just like mine. I haven’t come up with any answers yet in 4 1/2 years, but this term is new and might get us both closer with the proper understanding. I’m concerned for my kid too; like this article points out. I’m wondering if a good lawyer & judge might help reduce the time and exposure to him with psychological evaluation. Sounds expensive and tiring doesn’t it!?

  25. Rachelle says:

    Thank you for this post. I knew it was “normal” for kids to act out like this as I did the exact same thing. I was an a**hole to my mom until I was 15 after every single visit.
    Did your attorney happen to say if there is anyway to stop visitation as a result of this?
    As “normal” as it may be, it’s not healthy in my opinion…
    I’m asking because I’m currently dealing with this with our 3 year old son.
    Thank you for your time,

  26. ToBe says:

    My ex is surely a narc. Either that or bipolar. He is very controlling and manipulative. He may agree to one thing then change his mind if it doesn’t suit him. He cheated and left two years ago.

    Just like with the custody. He agreed to 2x week and biweekly weekends. For 2 years he didn’t follow the arrangement. He saw them as he pleased and took them for a night a handful of times.

    Now he decided he only wants 1 day a week. He said his life is changing. Nothing more. Then he said he pays me enough to watch them.

    He doesn’t care what the kids feel. And if i had to guess hes moving in with a girl.

    Do i go to court and if so for sole custody or do i leave it and let him see them once a week and pray he’ll own up to his responsibilities but leave the legal papers in tact?

    He’s also bad with support payments he will pay on his schedule. Usually he pays but he will complain and threaten many times that he shouldn’t have to pay. He makes good money and thinks he shouldn’t have to change his lifestyle to pay us.

    He bullied me into legal separation and now divorce. I asked for it recently but now he’s pushing me to file asap. I told him to file if he was in a rush. He told me to do it. He won’t pay legal fees or extracurricular fees.

    At this point i want my support payment firm custody requirements and as little contact as possible.

    Any help support is appreciated

  27. Eileen says:

    Thank you! I thought I was imagining it but I can truly relate. My son insists on sleeping in my bed and wants to be a baby. This past weekend he refused to stay overnight and had me pick him up Sat and take him back on Sunday for several hours. I will have to do the journal that’s a great idea and I’m sure it will correlate. In fact he has a visit tonight and he got in trouble at school today and even said he didn’t want to see his dad.

  28. Jessica says:

    I’m also worried about my step son (9) and step daughter (10) I’m about 99.9% sure that their Mother is a narcissist since everything I have read about narcissists fits her to the T and it makes me worried.
    My husband has full custody and she has visiting rights (every first and third weekend of the month)

    Well,My step son has had anger issues, problems sleeping at night do to nightmares, and lies about everything and anything and when confronted about it all you get is a “I don’t know” but after a few hours of him thinking about the reason why he lies he admits he learns it from him Mom and no matter how many time me and his Father talk to him and me explaining to him that we never lie to him and no one else ever lies to him also that even though it’s his Mother he needs to look up to a good trait that his Mother has instead of something bad because it’s not getting him anywhere.
    He is also very clingy, has a really hard time keeping and making friends do to how he treats them as well as had trouble in school.

    Also my step daughter has wet her bed many times after coming back from her Mother’s house,she gets worried a lot and is afraid to even talk to her Mom about things that upset her because her Mom yells, screams, throws things, blames it on us and that we told her to say such things, and make my step daughter feel like it’s all her fault.
    She also has had really bad nightmares that keep her awake at night after returning from her Mom’s.

    They also both come home tired and hungry every time do to them staying up late and her never having enough food to feed them.

    While they are with us they are as happy as can be, no worries, sleeps great, doesn’t lie but the more time they spend with their Mother that all changes.

    It’s hard because we work so hard on getting them on the right direction and breaking their bad habits then when they get back from their Mother’s house we have to do it all over again.

    My step daughter realizes how her Mom is and that she lies, saying awful things, and has mentioned that she knows she will never change but my step son hasn’t seen it yet or noticed any of it.

    It worries me because I don’t want them to grow up to be like her, Their Mother lies to them, manipulates them, has them watch their little brother (who is almost 3) all the time while she is outside or taking a nap when no one else but them are in the house and uses them to clean her house, she also says awful and mean things about me and their Father to try and get them to lean more towards her.

    She has also tried and convinced my step daughter to go live with her and told her that if she did they would have more food to feed everyone(she gets food stamps)

    And she has let them watch movies and shows that are NO WHERE kids appropriate to the point that my step son asked us one night what a hooker was because of a show they watched with their Mom.

    Their Mother also loves to create drama out of everything so it’s not only stressful for me and my husband but also for the kids because she sometimes refuses to talk to my husband about things and instead goes through the kids and tells them that the reason why is because she doesn’t like their Dad.

    But thankfully we are working on moving some point this year so we will see how that goes but I think it will be better for all of us to get that distance from her.

    I also keep EVERYTHING well documented but I’m now going to keep track of their behavior as they come back and forth.

  29. Amanda says:

    my ex is NOT a narcissist but a sociopath, which are similar but sociopath’s have no remorse about anything. He also has intermittent explosive disorder and OCD. I later found out he married me for a green card and he told judge he never loved me. He got me pregnant on purpose to assure his residency. HE had married before but apparently the girl pulled out last minute. HE was completely different while dating. Perfect Id say. As soon as we were married, things quickly changed from one day to the next.
    There is not much support and information on these subjects, so I was happy to find a website like yours. I separated from my ex while I was pregnant. He tried to kill us 2x. and further tried to hurt my son when he was born. I couldn’t see my life this way as I had never been in a relationship like this and decided to leave after my son was 7 days old. I reported him and was is trial for almost 2 yrs for custody and divorce. I honestly thought he would not fight me on it. Boy was I wrong. $30,000 later, I won in the court, NO sleepovers, no unsupervised visitation and what shocked me most that I didn’t even ask for, the judge said he could never see him on Shabbat. Im Jewish and practicing so that was such a miracle and relief. On our day of rest, literally meant a day of rest and never would be interrupted. Since I separated he has only seen him at most 20 times. MY son is 2 years and 8 months. just in the year 2013 he saw him a total of 11 hours and within 6 visits. Since day one, my son has shown he did not favor him. AT 2 months old, my son would show signs of disfavor. my son was pretty happy baby always smiling and laughing. From 1 month he could hold his head up and by 3 months was laughing out loud really hard. so at 2 months when he would be in front of my ex, he would get very serious and not one smile. as soon as my son was given back to me he would immediately smile and back to normal again. at around 10 months, he saw him and he immediately came back sick. Within a 5 month period he saw him a couple more times and would come back sick. (he never was ill on my clock) When he was 18 months, the supervised visits switched to a park and saw him there. The next time he saw him again was 6 months later for his 2nd birthday at the same park. I did not tell him who he was seeing. All I said was that we were going to the park and he had his ball in the car and was Happy!!! about it. As soon as we got to the park and he saw which park it was, he went crazy. Screaming no no no no!!! mommmy no. go home. etc. then got very serious. When the supervisor got him, he went with her reluctantly, walking holding her hand kicking his feet on the ground or like dragging them with his head down. (this broke my heart, like I cant even explain, I felt helpless). how did he remember from 18 mo to 2 years of age, what was going to happen!!!! and where he was!!! I try my best to be positive. I would never before say anything about it because I thought he was too young to understand. Boy was I wrong. Just yesterday he had a visit, and when I picked him up, he was the first time excited, probably because the bio dad gave him a huge Thomas track present. The first thing he said was look, Daddie got for me, Surprise! I remained positive and we left, in the car he tells me that he wants to go to the store to buy Percy. I said, you have 2 percy’s at home… we were on the way to target for diapers and so when we got out of car. I put him in shopping cart and he said to put the big Thomas box in the cart. I said no that it would stay in the car… he insisted so I did. in the store he mentioned nothing of percy again. when we got to check out counter, he always helps put all the items on the belt, and the last thing in the cart was the Thomas box. and he said mommy pay for Thomas. I was taken aback because he knows where that came from. I said no, baby it was a gift to you remember, mommy doesn’t need to pay for it. We went home. I stepped out for a moment to the store later in pm and he stayed with grandma. He told grandma, while looking at the box. “Grandma got Thomas for me”… She said no… then he said “mommy got for me”. she said no, it was a gift.
    So Looking back, he wanted to either please me, maybe he feels deep down inside I don’t approve of his father, even though I never speak about it in front of him, or he wanted to justify the gift in his brain that by mommy buying it in store it would no longer come from his “dad”. These are behaviors to watch out for, I do not know what to do and how to talk to him about his bio father… I have nothing positive to say. But at same time I do not want my son to feel like he cant talk to me about anything or feel shameful. any advice on that would be great. I have asked women in distress and others but no one seems to have an answer for me. “take it one day at a time”, they say.
    Let me add, I am very involved with my son, I truly enjoy being with him and spending every moment possible. We do lots of child social events and I teach him at home languages, math, science, games, reading.etc… Hes never away from me rarely ever, the longest has been in 2 hr supervised visits. I prayed so hard that this ex would never be around, I don’t even want child support. But obviously the courts don’t see it that way. I know Im very lucky, that the visits are as controlled as they are, in comparison to some. I hope this is not too long, but I figured there may be others like me, I just wanted to share my experience).

    • Amanda says:

      oh I also want to add, that I came across a KidSafe book that talks about abuse etc. really interesting but at the end it has a big circle and says “People I trust” at the top. I am to print pics and put them on there of people my son trusts.
      I was thinking maybe I should have 2 charts. One that says “People I love and Trust” (which includes, mom, grandma, grandpa) and one that says “People I love”, which will have a pic of his father and maybe someone else.
      I think this could help differentiate who he loves and TRUSTS and that it ok to love “father” but its ok not to trust him”. I never want to instill hate in my son. no matter what. but I don’t want him doooped by his father either.
      Does anyone think this is a good idea?

    • Kristy says:


      What kinds of evidence did you have to present in court to get that court order? I am in the same situation and my ex is a sociopath. My daughter exhibits anger and agression after visits with him and her whole demeanor changes. She is 25 months. She has to skype with him twice a week and has night terrors for usually three days after the skype session. I too have spent a huge amount of money so far on my custody case and have not gotten anywhere. Any advice would be appreciated.

      • Amanda says:

        Document document every little thing!!
        Record her conversations before Skype call during and afterwards. To show change in behavior.
        Take her to a dr. Whether it be a physician or psychologist.
        Report her night terrors.
        Did you call the police in the past?
        Anything he remotely does wrong call the police, make a police report. Immediately. Anything threatening in nature.

        Unfortunately, since we don’t think like sociopaths it’s hard for us but you need to start thinking how they would think and be one step ahead all the time. You must be the one to always keep him in check like playing chess., look at sociopath forums, where they actually talk to each other. You get to see how they really think.

        Also there is a website called our family wizard. It’s great bc it forces the sociopath to be civil. And it’s 100% allowed in court as proof. Works like an email/calendar.

        Has your ex been to a psychologist for a full evaluation? If not, it’s imperative to prove his mental illness and be allowed to talk to the psychologist yourself to tell your side,
        Lastly, my faith, prayers and family have gotten me thru this. I told the truth as facts to judge and he saw right thru everything.

        I will keep you in prayer.

    • Michelle says:

      Great article. I wish it had some suggestions on how to handle this situation and help kids who are going through this and these transitions. I am the future SM of three children who show signs of regression, aggression, fear and separation anxiety after they have been gone to their mom’s, even if only for one night. They come home tired and hungry which only add to it because once they are tired and hungry they are harder to reason with. We frequently deal with kids who don’t want to go to bed unless dad is by their side because they are “scared” and I suspect that it is a bit of separation anxiety playing out. They go to bed fine until they have been gone on an overnight there. One child also tends to wake up earlier or throughout the night more after a visit with his mom, needing reassurance and his dad’s presence by his side. I need some sound advice on ways to help their transitions so they can recover quicker from their time away. I’m only the future SM, but I want to help their dad and support him and the kids.

    • sam says:

      This web site example abusive mom’s

      Will create conflict with their child just after visits with the other parent and then blame the other parent for being the cause of the conflict with the child
      In many cases, the HAP parent will creates conflict with their child many times when the child returns from visits with the other parent. The parent may interrogate the child about the visit, or may say bad things about the other parent to get the child upset. When the child does get upset out of frustration, the HAP parent will report the child’s behaviour and report that this problem seems caused by the visits with the other parent. In most cases, the HAP parent is trying to have the child’s access to the other parent reduced by placing blame on the other parent.

      • Hi Sam, I read the article link that you sent, to understand what an “HAP” is. Much of the list is what my kids have experienced – like having their dad limit phone calls to me to one per day or not allow it at all (or if I missed the call, he wouldn’t answer me calling back), monitoring the phone call (what for? can’t we speak freely when they are with me?), even so much as taking the phone out of their hands and yelling at me. My ex’s dad even did that when they visited them – yelling at me to not ever call his house (our cell phone call was disrupted, so I called his house phone – ONCE). They’ve also had their dad threaten to call the police when they said they didn’t want to go, threaten suing me for more custody (he threatens them with that), etc.

        I’ve found that more recently, the threats peak when he feels attacked in any manner. Because he orients from his external environment, if anything changes (like the kids say don’t want to do the activity he planned to do when he picked them up), this can trigger him to threaten and attack. It is something that someone who functions normally could deal with, but because he can’t function normally – it’s a huge attack to him. It’s interesting when it’s possible to step back and look at it objectively.

        Unfortunately, it’s not acceptable behavior and damaging for the kids to be around it, who can’t yet process that there may be physical or mental health reasons for the severe behavior.

        Thanks for writing!

  30. Carol says:

    My fiance’s 5 year old daughter has the same issue, but her mother is the narcissist and when we pick her up after the 3 days a week she spends with her mother it is just horrible, for all of us. Her personality mimics her mother, in body language, attitude, and voice. She is accusatory, nasty and aggressive. That first night home with us she sleepwalks. Luckily by the next morning she seems to be past it and back to her happy self. Her dad is afraid she is developing a split personality, and I read that 25% of kids of narcissists have their own personality disorders, which makes me afraid of what the years ahead will hold. We are in the middle of a court custody case for a pending move away and are hoping to gain full custody. If she moves aways with her mother, I fear she will be lost to us. I have never known anyone who destroys people the way this woman does. I know most of these posts are about male ex’s, but I think it’s even worse when the mother is crazy evil one.

    • Hi Carol. The stats I’ve seen are 75% male, but hey – they are redoing the definition of narcissistic personality disorder anyway, so I suppose that would also redo the stats. However, I find it interesting that there are more books to be found on narcissistic mothers than fathers. I have a friend who grew up with one – and it seemed to really wreck havoc on her. I hope the move away case works out. Read the books about divorcing a narcissist or borderline by Randi Kreger – those are very helpful in thinking about how to approach the case with this type of personality.

  31. FedupStepMum says:

    Unfortunately, we have the complete opposite, where we are having things completely blown out of proportion, she gets her way, and then drops the ball when there is an inkling of her being called out. One of the things that bothers me most about dealing with my husbands NPD/HCP ex-wife is that she would say these things about HIM. The projection, shamelessness, entitlement, manipulation and double standards that this woman throws at us are unbearable at times. Fortunately, because we have established the email/texting only to help hold her accountable for what she says and does, she has not been able to get away with lying, twisting words around, and blowing things out of proportion the way she used to. For the longest time, because it would come down to the he-said-she-said in court, he would get accused of things and screwed on a lot because she could turn on the “I’m the mom and I know my babies!” (even though she spends MINIMAL amount of time with them on her own parenting days) and the court would rule in her favor. She’s crazy crafty and manipulative. You wouldn’t believe the little world that she has created to help get her the most benefit with minimum amount of actual effort. This includes a live in nanny that she previously had a sexual relationship with, and one that currently gets paid a lot of money to watch the boys on mom’s day in lieu of my husband paying child support, per signed agreement filed with the court. SO WEIRD!

    She claimed that the kids (9 and 6) had anxiety issues to the point they needed “fixing”, especially the 6 year old (Yes, she even told the last mediator that she just wanted the 6 year old “fixed”, like they were a broken toy or something). She wanted them in counseling which we weren’t too thrilled about because their anxiety issues were all during their mom’s and “nanny’s” time with them, not ours. She also had blamed us for all these problems that were completely unique to her and the nanny’s time with them. They weren’t showing showing problems at school, on our time with them, or in other social situations when the mom and nanny aren’t around. Our suggestion was that she and the nanny go to parenting classes and communication classes since their issues seemed to stem from discipline inconsistencies between the two of them. Thank God that within months of us marrying, her former best friend and I began to talk and have discussions about her experiences with the ex and her “nanny” while they had the kids. Because of what we have been told and what we have in writing, we have been able to defend ourselves against her accusations. The kids’ behavior with us versus them is night and day, including them being respectful, relaxed, and happy. Nothing like what she experienced while they were with mom or the nanny. She even went so far as to write a huge letter explaining why she wouldn’t spend time with the kids anymore unless it was on my husband’s time and what the differences were with regard to their behaviors. She called them out on their lack of discipline, and mom’s inability to really parent at all. Because of all this, we were able to get a much better structure with regards to holidays and some other things taken care of through court. And the mediator’s report basically called her out on her sh**.

    After all the work that my husband and I put into finding a counselor for the 6 year old that met certain criteria, after 3 sessions, she has not taken them back. We believe that this is because we recently called her out on keeping her boyfriend for the last year from us, the court, the mediator and the counselor (We emailed the counselor as soon as we found out and CC’d her on it). She had been blaming all their issues at her house on us getting married, not mentioning the fact that she was in a new relationship. The last session they went to, the child was taken by my husband, and based on what the counselor said, she was not seeing anything out of the ordinary. She wanted to talk to mom and figure out what she was seeing first hand. Again, counselor has not heard back from her…

    Sorry you are having to deal with all this. We don’t have lawyers involved, so it’s more of us protecting ourselves and the kids from her lying and manipulation through getting everything in writing. And sorry for my novel! Feels good getting that off my chest. I carry around a lot of animosity and anxiety because of her and her NPD/HCP behaviors…

    • Thanks for writing! It’s good to get that off your chest – and certainly I understand. Releasing the anger and frustration have been key to me, as that and the resentment for putting up with all the ways my ex impacts my life seems to get stuck in my body. I’ve been trying to be more conscious of the effects and what I can do personally to let it affect me as minimally as possible – which seems to be easier said than done. There are so many more books on narcissistic mothers than fathers, but I read a statistic that 75% of narcissists are male. It’s curious to me that the books focus on narcissistic mothers and makes me interested in how the impact of narcissistic parenting of male vs. female parents differs.

    • scotty says:

      its a joke man are turning into liars to get what they want. to me its all about getting back at the ex its not about the kids, when are those man going to know that kids are only young for a small time and adults for a long time. they will remember all the shit the courts in New Zealand don’t listen to the children the rule is blame mums for being mums and dads get 50/50 its the good man that put bad thing aside and put the kids first and talk to your ex, with no hard feelings. act like grow up you gutless pricks you give us real men a bad name

  32. JenelleMarie says:

    Ugh yes, I have noticed this and also been logging the last few months. Over the summer my children were amazing and my bff pointed out it was because the ex missed 6 weeks of visitation. I was shocked that she noticed it, but she also has seen the huge behavioral changes for the good in my children since we separated.

    I finally started to give it some thought as i was going through my journal. Initially i thought it was the ex wasn’t paying attention to my youngest’s (just turned 2) food allergies. He probably isnt, but i think it’s more emotional response and anxiety. He was dx’ed with anxiety before 18 months while the ex was still living with us. 9 months later he is a compeletely different child and his neurologist is shocked at the change in him for the good, except after visitations! He will scream and fuss, and hit and punch and act out every time he comes home from his dad and it lasts a few days. My girls (almost 7 and 9) are volatile and emotional messes too.

    It truly breaks my heart for my children and i have been working with my therapist to give them tools to empower themselves during visitation. Wish there was more I could do for my 2 year old though 🙁

    • Hey! I would love to hear the tools that you give them to empower themselves during visitation. If you would like to write a ‘guest post’ on the topic, I would love that too. Let me know what you think.
      As for your two year old… imho, seems like the best thing to do is keep emphasizing that his needs and wants matter by allowing him to make choices whenever feasible and to assert his needs (two year old style) with you as well. It’s also sooo great that others notice and are willing to speak up about how much better your kids are doing when there is less exposure.

  33. Grace says:

    We definitely have this! And from both sides. When my stepkids are with us they initially arrive highly emotional, volatile, their voices LOUD and reactions EXTREME. They begin to settle, to laugh, to play, and after a few days we are in a nice routine. The day they return to their mom’s it’s like aliens have taken over their bodies.

    Turns out it’s very typical for kids going between two households,and it breaks my heart.

    I noticed that my children do it too. They spend the majority of their time with us, but on the day they are to go to their dad’s they will become combative, argumentative, even sullen.

    Hopefully this will settle with time.

    Sidenote: Remember how I commented previously that my ex was behind in child support, but then got caught up? The general attorney sent me a letter. His $8k check BOUNCED, but they had already ‘fronted’ the money to my account (which was then transferred straight to my credit card to cover the charges I’ve racked up while waiting for him to pay). They are going to start garnishing MY payments until it’s paid back.

    And I wondered why my ex was lashing out at me again…I should have known.

    It just never ends.

    • Regarding sidenote: That freaking sucks. It’s wrong in every sense of the word. Why can’t they go after the ex for the money? Garnish HIS wages. Oooohhhh… that burns me up.
      As for your phrase “It just never ends” – that’s actually a phrase my ex says about me all the time “it just never ends with her”. You’re saying it validly, and my ex is projecting. lol.
      I can’t even say how sorry I am about the child support check. Grrrr…

    • FedupStepMum says:

      OMG! That’s kind of how it is in our house! We noticed at a sporting event that the moment that the live in nanny from their mom’s house showed up, my 6 year old step child began to bounce off the walls and misbehave… It was my husband’s parenting day, so we pulled him out the to car and told the child that if they couldn’t behave, they were going to have to sit in the chair the whole game. Child’s response: “But mommy and (live-in nanny’s name) let me!” And they wonder why they have behavior problems at their house?! Really!? And it’s all our fault apparently, for getting married…

  34. KJ says:

    Another post that hits close to home. My son is much older than your children and there is a definate change in personality when he returns home…my therapist calls the first few days after visitaion ‘deprogramming’ sometime the deprogramming can take 2 days and there are some weeks that it take close to 4 days. This time can be maddening as it makes the whole house seem like chaos. He takes the physical aspect out on our poor dogs who spend most of their time under a couch or hiding in the basement, I get the full out verbal/emotional tantrum part of it. There are Sundays that I literally find myself dreading having to go get him because I KNOW the next few days will be hell. His dad is very emotionally abusive, he has physically hurt him (CPS gets involved and being a ‘great guy’ usually talks his was out of it), the fear of physical harm is the worst. After refusing to go to dad’s last weekend my ex told him that he was calling the attorney and I would be arrested and put in jail if it happened again….so last night my son told his grandpa he was just going to go to his dad’s so his mom didn’t have to go to jail…ugh! He won’t share these ‘threats’ with me because somehow he feels this need to protect me. At 16 he is finally starting to find his voice and things are quickly escalating with the drama between the two of them. Again, these Narcs seem to be like cabon copies of each other.

    • Stories like this are frustrating to me. It goes with a conversation I had with my daughter’s attorney about the perspective of children in the US – that they aren’t treated as people. They aren’t given the same respect or rights. Your son is two years away from voting, and in most states can have a driver’s license. He’s also able to hold a job and be paid – WILLful employment. Certainly he can chose whether he wants to spend time with an abusive father or be strong enough to say ‘no’ — and be protected from threats of reprecussion from his father.

  35. Ana says:

    I see the same things in my daughter. Her Father just cut the time she’s going to spend with him to 5 days a month. I’m hoping this will help. Recently he got mad at her because he doesn’t like the music she listens to and called her a”prissy bitch”. I told her therapist,psychiatrist and mediator in the hopes they would tell her how to handle something like this in the future. Not one gave her any help in how to handle something like this when it happens again, and it will.

    • My daughter’s therapist is aiming to empower my daughter to stand up to her dad and tell him that he shouldn’t treat her this way and that if he does, she’s going to tell (the police, teachers, child protection, whomever). I used to tell my daughter to use the phrase “please treat me like someone you love”, but she hasn’t found the courage to use it. Wish there was an easy answer – and that therapists were better equipped to advise children in these situations. I’m glad to hear that your daughter’s dad voluntarily lowered his time.

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