Messages from God

I truly believe that things happen in our lives for a reason.  I don’t think that we have “predefined destiny” – just that God puts things (people, situations, items) in our lives to learn from here and there.  My ex is certainly one of them – as were all the people previously in my life that had the similar trait of ‘bullying’, ‘intimidating’, ‘competitive because they felt threatened’, etc.

Three thing have happened recently that I want to share.

(1) As I was walking down the hallway at my children’s daycare the other day, I had been questioning myself and whether I’ve stood up for my kids where I should and whether I was being the best mother I could be.  A previous teacher for my children walked the other way down the hall, and instead of just telling me “hello”, or “how are you”, she told me out of the blue “You are such a wonderful, loving mother.  Your kids are so lucky”.

I thought “Thank you, God… I needed that“.

(2) I have been trying to find a therapist for my son – and that can be tricky as so many people have preconceived ideas, influences from their own upbringings, or are unaware of the depth of harm a personality disordered person can cause.  Some I have spoken to briefly – but there were two I met in person.  As I went through the issues with my son’s regressive behavior, and their situation with their Dad that might be causing it  – both of these therapists looked at me with very concerned looks on their faces and said:

“Have you considered going back to court to change this visitation schedule?”  and “they are in a very abusive environment”.

Again… “Thank you, God, for telling me clearly what they are dealing with and that I need to take action for them.

(3)  When I picked up my 8 year old daughter from school yesterday, she excitedly reached in her backpack to take out a piece of paper for me.   We have spoken a lot about having faith in God and that he won’t let us down – he will protect them and show us how to make it through the challenges that are in our lives.  At times, she’s yelled back at me that he’s not answering her prayers, and I tell her “yet“, and “He will“.

Here is her picture.  What a lucky mom I am!

God Bless EVERYONE who is impacted by personality disordered individuals … including the person with the personality disorder 🙂

 

Therapy objectives for children of abusive parents

Took my daughter last week to her therapist.  We spoke about her conversation with me on her dad hitting her face.  We also spoke about her Dad’s raging at them the previous Sunday – “so loud that the neighbors could hear, Mommy.  I told him to be quieter and that the neighbors would be able to hear him.”  We spoke of her  justifying her dad’s behavior by saying “he just gets so annoyed with me”, this comment about the neighbors / trying to hide his anger issues, and that she witnessed physical violence as a young child.  She’s mentioned two therapeutic goals for my children:

1.  For my daughter > that she doesn’t go into a relationship with an abusive person when she is older.

2. For both my children > to develop trust and a safe environment such that they are willing to speak freely about what happens with their father so (a) we know what’s truly going on for them, and (b) we can work through it emotionally now rather than later.

3. For my son > that we find for him a gentle, understanding male therapist so that he can learn to trust men and that not all adult men aren’t safe.

4. For both > Learning that children have rights too.  The right to be respected, understood, treated gently, feel important.

At the moment, my daughter swears up and down that she will never get married. She doesn’t want to marry someone and have them be like her father.  I try to convince her that there are wonderful men (like her brother, or friends she has that are boys) and that they don’t all have anger issues.  She just needs to learn how to know which are which.

What other goals should they have?  Boundaries?  Learning to vocalize issues?  This is a goal for me — to learn more what goals they should have and help them reach those goals with the right qualified professionals.

 

A Narcissist’s Rage

My children returned last week again complaining of their father’s raging.  My daughter said he was “yelling so loud the neighbors would be able to hear”, and that she asked him to be quieter.  I was so saddened by this reaction of her’s – that it was just like someone in an abusive relationship… to hide the abuse from others.

No!  Dear child, you should be yelling from the rooftops.

Is this an abusive environment for  my children?  Yes.  But when is it enough abuse?  Not yet, says my daughter’s therapist, as she tells me of another “case” in which a 12 year old boy  has gone to court 4 times to try to change things because of the way his father scares him.  The judge keeps saying “no changes”.  Maybe the judge just doesn’t get it?  It’s not just “Boo!” type of scaring, dear Judge.  It’s TERRORIZING.  It’s the narcissist saying after a rage how they think they are the kind of person who may lose it one day and blow up a McDonald’s.  This is the type of person who is caring for my children – and other people’s children.  Shouldn’t we protect them?

 

 

 

How can I teach my daughter to not be in an abusive relationship when she’s an adult

if I can’t protect her from abusive behavior as a child?

If my teen or adult daughter came to me and said that her boyfriend/husband hit her in the face… I would tell her to leave the jerk as fast as humanly possible.

But if my child tells me the same about her father… I have to tell her she has to continue going on visitation with him because the court order says so.

How does that make sense?  What can we all do to help drive the changes that we need to have in the child custody court and visitation, so that personality disorders, rages, prior domestic violence really is taken into consideration when determining visitation?

Does the definition of abuse need to include ‘intent to harm’?

My eight year old daughter disclosed yesterday that her father hits her on the face.

Just like an abuse victim, she rationalized it.  She said “it’s just 4-5 times a year, Mom… not that much” and “he gets so annoyed with me”, with the latter statement said as though she feels sorry for him and ashamed with her own behavior.  Why isn’t she pissed that he would treat her that way?

A couple years ago, I had a friend who’s son disclosed that his father was hitting him on the back of the head.  She was still married at the time.  She quickly kicked him out and called CPS.  CPS investigated, and they concluded it “unfounded” for abuse.  Why?  Because he even though the father was hitting his child, they said that the father “didn’t intend to harm” the child.  How does that statement even make sense?

An therein lies another problem… as a woman who left an abusive husband, I should have the opportunity to protect my children.  We’re not married…  there IS a safe place for my children to be where they aren’t at risk of being with a person who has a very low tolerance for frustration and sees physical force as a solution to a problem.

BUT, if I call CPS and say that I need help… I am genuinely concerned for my children’s safety because my ex is showing more signs of being unable to deal with frustration when caring for his children, I will be quickly considered the vindictive ex who is trying to prevent my children from being with their father.  If the CPS people don’t think it immediately, they will later when they speak to my ex and he gives his speech where he says “she denies access to my children” and “she never lets me have additional time with them, not even an hour”.  Where is logic, though?  I haven’t denied access, but why shouldn’t I?  If any parent finds that their parent is being hit in a caregiving situation – wouldn’t they take measures to make sure that their children are not put in that situation?  If this was happening at daycare – I would take my children out of that daycare and file a report, and something would be done immediately to the center.

BUT… the likelihood is high that CPS will see it as an ‘unfounded’ complaint.  And I as the mother who knows the father and his temper and propensity to lash out because he can’t handle life in general… will have to continue sending a 40 pound boy and a 65 pound girl into the care of a 250 pound monster.

SCANVA.ORG states “Child abuse is, however, more likely to occur with individuals who have low levels of tolerance for frustration, inappropriately developed coping skills, and misconceptions about what it means to be a parent or caretaker. Good judgment or reason goes out the window as the parent or caretaker releases anger or attempts to gratify some impulse or desire.”

This is a perfect definition of my ex, and I know it well.  Heck, it was even testified to in court by a mental health practitioner that someone like my ex, who has low levels of tolerance for frustration and does REACTIVE physical discipline, would have a hard time parenting a challenging child like our daughter.  (but I’m sure the judge was too busy thinking about how he wanted to leave the courtroom before 4pm that day because he had a gig with this band in a nearby town).

So then… I’m up at 5am today thinking about what to do… what can I do?  what options do I have?  Dammit… should I have stayed married so I could at least be there to protect my children, and be taken more seriously when I reported abuse?

Oh… but then again… maybe he doesn’t really ‘intend‘ to harm when he hits her…

 

 

Saving lives through a test which reveals if there is a heightened risk of violence

Maybe there’s hope?  I know there are MANY organizations out there working to make a change in the way domestic violence is handled, as well as how it is viewed in custody & visitation issues/court.

Here’s an article I came across through the NCADV.org website (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence) which talks about the dramatic results in reducing murder as a result of domestic violence in Washington, DC and Maryland as well as 14 other states that have adopted the use of a test which helps to spot those who are more inclined to use violence against a spouse or ex-spouse.

Here’s the link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/todays_paper?dt=2011-10-29&bk=A&pg=14

 

Bullying via Text

I have to share the text exchange that I had with my ex this evening.  My daughter’s first communion is this weekend.  While I have a very strong faith – I’m not Catholic, and I think that the first communion show-down is a bit over-rated.  Frankly, as a side bar – I don’t understand it, because I just can’t seem to recall the bible saying “if you are over 8 years old... ‘take, eat, this is the body and blood of Christ’…”

Anyway, I am still committed to raising my children Catholic and using that as a basic framework to build a personal relationship with God.  The church we attend had a rehearsal for the first communion tonight, during a time that my ex has the kids (from 5-8pm).  I let my kids know (but not my ex) that I would see them at the rehearsal.  Why did I attend?  Because I needed to know how things would flow at the communion to be able to answer the questions my daughter might have – and I know my ex won’t communicate with me what the rehearsal covered.

As another aside – God is gracious!.  My daughter’s only opportunity for first communion at my ex’s church falls on this weekend, which is my weekend.  Which means – that she has first communion with me at my church. 🙂

Here’s the text exchange (names omitted), which was sent within minutes of picking up our kids and finding out I would be at the church:

Ex:  Im taking daughter to church for rehearsal.  You shouldnt be there. I’ll have them home for 8.

Me:  I’m her mom… why shouldn’t I be there?

Ex: Its my time with them.  Do you want to give me 2 hours with them on saturday since my family is in town for first communion?

Me: It’s her rehearsal, and I’m not missing it.

Ex: I’m considering it a custody violation.

Me: Consider it what you want, but it is written into our court order/psa that both parents should be able to participate in important events for our children.

Ex: So no time with kids on Saturday?

Me:  I have family in as well.  I sent you an email asking you about your family, but you hadn’t responded.  At this point, it’s two days before and you’re asking me to change plans – and bullying me about it too.

<END of exchange. He didn’t reply further>

So then what happened?  I attended rehearsal and he was happy and cordial as though the text exchange never occurred, and he never asked a word about the time on Saturday.  Really, really odd — as I am never sure whether it will be Mr. Hyde or Dr. Jekyll that will be there… but I can tell you that calling out his bullying seems to really help!

Oh – and the first thing my daughter asked after the rehearsal?  “Mom.. can you tell me in kid-words how to do first communion?  It seems really complicated.”

 

A Narcissist’s Match.com Profile – interpreted

Here, I will post my ex’s match.com profile which he had up for a short while.  He changed it within a couple months to remove the offensive language.  My guess is that he wound up with too many comments or being turned down too much.  My comments are intermingled in purple italics Enjoy!

I’m an entrepreneur, which to some extent means I’m a gambler.  I take calculated risks for a living.  In the past this has been estimating the value of investments for banks.  Currently I run a growing business and love every minute of it.  I’m a passionate person (‘intuitive perceiver’ for you myers-briggs types) so I have to love what I’m doing with my career or it does adversely affect me.  As a side note to the entrepreneur,  I am sometimes very flush and sometimes broke.  If that kind of volatility will bother you, I’m probably not the right guy.  I’ve been completely broke before – good growth experience.  I realized that if that won’t break me, nothing will.  – This is true – he has been severely broke, during a time when he was a business partner with a girlfriend whom he treated the same abusive way as me.  I am, unfortunately (as I found out later), round two of relationships where he litigated like mad to retain what he felt he was entitled to have.  I have read that a narcissist’s desperate way to stay connected with the person who is leaving him is often through combative measures.

I’ve chosen to be the king of a very small country, running my business, than a prince in a much larger one (previous banks and consultancies I’ve worked for).  Perhaps it’s a control thing, but I’m far happier this way.  Perhaps it’s a CONTROL THING?  I find it amazing when he makes these accurately reflective comments about himself, but neglects to ever want to change it. Let’s see… he refuses to let his children use ketchup to eat steak, or to sleep with their socks on.  Controlling?  YES, and then some…  It is very rewarding to see the direct relationship between effort and luck and my results (and the harder I work, the luckier I tend to be).  I expect that this choice will allow me to balance my personal life and my time with my children (and new family) whereas before I had little control over my time.  He wants a new family because that is the image he wants to have in life – that he is the family guy with a trophy wife and trophy children who make his image look better.  He doesn’t want to have any actual responsibility for them – which is why item #2 below is so important.

I thought that the “what I’m looking for” question would be easy, but I’ve lived enough to see some flaws in my thinking.  So, let me offer an honest assessment of what I’m looking for or not looking for and please don’t take anything that follows to be offensive.

  1. I would like someone who speaks English as a first language.  If not, you must really have excellent command of the language.  If you haven’t seen Archer and laughed, you probably aren’t really fluent.  He recently dated an Asian woman, likely because he’s attracted to their youthful beauty (he once drooled over Asian porn- until I yelled at them that he was looking at young children in this particular magazine and how awful it was that he was sexually attracted to pre-teen girls.  He then would not admit it to me again).
  2. I would like someone who values the role of housewife and raising a family.  I greatly value the role.  It doesn’t mean you won’t have a career or other pursuits, just that these roles are your priority.  The unstated portion of this is… “you must have a career and your own money because I won’t foot the bill for anything.  You must also do everything in the home – you need to keep it clean, take care of the children, maintenance of the house and cars, always have food in the kitchen and have dinner prepared for me if I chose to return home for it- which you will know by reading my mind.  Oh, and if I decide that I think that drycleaning ruins my shirts and want them to be handwashed, dried flat and ironed… that means you do it for me, along with every other piece of laundry in the house.”  In all seriousness – it is my understanding that this need for a very traditional, old school view of woman/man’s role in a household is typical in abusive relationships.
  3. You didn’t vote for Obama.  Or if you did, you have renounced your affiliation.  In all seriousness, we’re just not going to get along if you’re an NPR listening liberal.  I’m to the right, and then some.  He is a supreme republican, because as he sees it – republican’s value personal wealth and are above other people.  He doesn’t want to share or take care of any other ‘idiot’ on the planet.
  4. You’re not a vegetarian.  See the pattern here?  I’m Irish/Italian Catholic NRA member conservative.  PETA means People Eat Tasty Animals.  Truthfully, if you turn down my Osso Bucco, it’s a deal breaker.  This is in reference to me.  I don’t care for meat much, and if I do eat – I don’t want it raw.  I certainly believe that Ox Tail (i.e. Osso Bucco) belongs securely to the end of a very ALIVE Ox.  He cannot understand or see that other people would like food differently than others and it is an area of pure rage for him. He screamed at me over this stuff many times, and was outraged that I would order an appetizer in a restaurant as my main course, threatening me in an attempt to get me to  order an actual main course.  I cannot begin to attempt why he feels such a strong need to control others in this area. 
  5. You don’t have any alcohol or chemical dependencies.  Ask me about that relationship.  Good times.  This is a relationship which occurred just before/after our divorce proceedings.  A little research shows she had citations in public drunkenness and DUIs –  but nonetheless, he dated her and announced that they had plans to be married within a couple months of meeting (again, typical of a personality disorder), and had her around our children immediately.
  6. You would like to have more children.  It’s the best thing I’ve done with my life.  He didn’t want children, although to lure me in he stated he wanted to have five.  It’s the best thing he’s ever done because it’s the only way he’s ever had his parent’s approval.  His mom’s actual words “I always thought you’d make a terrible father… you’re such a jerk… but look at how wonderful you are!”  They are his ticket to parental approval as well as his built-in companions who at this age cannot tell him that they don’t want to do his grown up activities with him.
  7. You’re not a planner (more myers-briggs here). I’m a lousy planner.  Maybe it’s just Aspberger’s, but I’ve had to buy clothes all over North America and Europe because I forgot to pack something for a business trip.  And, it doesn’t bother me.  If flying to France with a guy who forgot to pack his underpants will set you off, keep moving.  It will happen again.  And, yes, they sell the same stuff over there too.  If you’re a planner but think you can rehabilitate me, let me tell you that I’ve crushed more than a few souls who have attempted this.  I do like to be organized, efficient and on time, but it doesn’t always happen.  I would like someone to organize me.  The last sentence here is key and probably accidentally and subconsciously written.  He doesn’t want to deal with the mundane aspects of life and wants someone else to do it for him.  I used to tell him that he wants someone else to live his life for him (he wanted to hire a nanny so he didn’t have to do any child raising whatsoever – even if I was at work or traveling for work and he was left holding the bag).   Oh, and if the person doesn’t organize perfectly – he reserves the right to rage at them for it.

In the final analysis, good relationships share a common vision of their future.  They’re willing to take the same risks and discuss openly all the options.  I did not have this in my first marriage.  I hope that I can find someone with the same sense of humor I have who is willing to take on what life has to offer.  THIS SHOULD READ:  ‘good relationships are ones that share MY vision of the future – where the wife will give up any inkling of herself in favor of doing everything that I am interested in and actively supporting me by doing only my interests for me.  If you don’t believe that chasing monetary wealth and pretending your rich beyond belief is the only way to live life… we probably won’t get along.’

In the “for fun” category.. he writes “I enjoy being a good father of two. I like to show them how to do new things. We ride horses, my daughter is quite good. I tend to do outdoor activities like golf, sailing, skiing, shooting and fishing. I also enjoy a great dinner and a bottle of wine.”  Note that he enjoys being a good father.  Where’s the focus?  On HIM.  “We ride horses = I rode for a few times and now make her ride even in single-digit frozen weather because I believe that rich people own and ride horses, and I want to do anything a rich person does.”  He also ‘enjoys’ all the other activities because those are rich people activities.  The fishing aspect is the only odd anomaly.

In the “faith” category, he writes “I’m Catholic. I go every Sunday and take my children.  However, I’m also an accomplished sinner.  I think its very important to have a moral compass and give one to my children.”  He only goes to church when he has his kids.  He only believes in Catholicism but yet chastises the church.  He has no understanding of morals, other than using the fact that a kid’s party is scheduled for a Sunday as a good excuse to say that our daughter can’t attend – because after all – what sinner would dare schedule a kid’s party on the Sabbath??

 

A Narcissist’s Match.com Profile

This was my ex’s match.com profile for a short while.  I am going to post it here without changing a thing, and tomorrow, I will post it again with interpretative comments.  Enjoy!

I’m an entrepreneur, which to some extent means I’m a gambler.  I take calculated risks for a living.  In the past this has been estimating the value of investments for banks.  Currently I run a growing business and love every minute of it.  I’m a passionate person (‘intuitive perceiver’ for you myers-briggs types) so I have to love what I’m doing with my career or it does adversely affect me.  As a side note to the entrepreneur,  I am sometimes very flush and sometimes broke.  If that kind of volatility will bother you, I’m probably not the right guy.  I’ve been completely broke before – good growth experience.  I realized that if that won’t break me, nothing will.

I’ve chosen to be the king of a very small country, running my business, than a prince in a much larger one (previous banks and consultancies I’ve worked for).  Perhaps it’s a control thing, but I’m far happier this way.  It is very rewarding to see the direct relationship between effort and luck and my results (and the harder I work, the luckier I tend to be).  I expect that this choice will allow me to balance my personal life and my time with my children (and new family) whereas before I had little control over my time.

I thought that the “what I’m looking for” question would be easy, but I’ve lived enough to see some flaws in my thinking.  So, let me offer an honest assessment of what I’m looking for or not looking for and please don’t take anything that follows to be offensive.

  1. I would like someone who speaks English as a first language.  If not, you must really have excellent command of the language.  If you haven’t seen Archer and laughed, you probably aren’t really fluent.
  2. I would like someone who values the role of housewife and raising a family.  I greatly value the role.  It doesn’t mean you won’t have a career or other pursuits, just that these roles are your priority.
  3. You didn’t vote for Obama.  Or if you did, you have renounced your affiliation.  In all seriousness, we’re just not going to get along if you’re an NPR listening liberal.  I’m to the right, and then some.
  4. You’re not a vegetarian.  See the pattern here?  I’m Irish/Italian Catholic NRA member conservative.  PETA means People Eat Tasty Animals.  Truthfully, if you turn down my Osso Bucco, it’s a deal breaker.
  5. You don’t have any alcohol or chemical dependencies.  Ask me about that relationship.  Good times.
  6. You would like to have more children.  It’s the best thing I’ve done with my life.
  7. You’re not a planner (more myers-briggs here). I’m a lousy planner.  Maybe it’s just Aspberger’s, but I’ve had to buy clothes all over North America and Europe because I forgot to pack something for a business trip.  And, it doesn’t bother me.  If flying to France with a guy who forgot to pack his underpants will set you off, keep moving.  It will happen again.  And, yes, they sell the same stuff over there too.  If you’re a planner but think you can rehabilitate me, let me tell you that I’ve crushed more than a few souls who have attempted this.  I do like to be organized, efficient and on time, but it doesn’t always happen.  I would like someone to organize me.

In the final analysis, good relationships share a common vision of their future.  They’re willing to take the same risks and discuss openly all the options.  I did not have this in my first marriage.  I hope that I can find someone with the same sense of humor I have who is willing to take on what life has to offer.

In the “for fun” category.. he writes “I enjoy being a good father of two. I like to show them how to do new things. We ride horses, my daughter is quite good. I tend to do outdoor activities like golf, sailing, skiing, shooting and fishing. I also enjoy a great dinner and a bottle of wine.”

In the “faith” category, he writes “I’m Catholic. I go every Sunday and take my children.  However, I’m also an accomplished sinner.  I think its very important to have a moral compass and give one to my children.”

Severe anxiety as a child of a narcissistic parent

I have been placing my children in God’s hands for every visitation.  I know that these visits are stressful on my children, but I have focused on placing my faith in God that he will answer our prayers to have a better schedule for my children when the time is right.

My ex has refused to ‘authorize’ that our five year old son be seen in therapy or evaluated, despite recommendations from other mental health professionals.  He also does not support our daughter – however, I filed a motion in court to appoint a therapist and it was done.  He does not, and has not, support paying for it – which means he is going against our court order that says he has to do just that.  The tab has been mounting with my daughter’s therapist, who is wonderfully in it for the reason of helping the children and gratefully extremely understanding about how broke I am from the years of legal & therapeutic bills.

Last week, my children spent spring break at their dad’s.  They left on Monday.  On our allowed Monday evening phone call, our son was crying.  On Tuesday, he was crying and I promised him a new toy light saber if he can pull it through until Friday when they returned.  On Wednesday, I thankfully was able to see them for a couple hours (it helped my ex to get the kids off his hands so he could work in his store- although he would never admit that as his driving reason).   I had to leave my daughter in the store crying as I drove away, mouthing to her to ‘be strong’, and waving the ‘i love you’ sign in sign language.  It was one of the hardest moments of all this, as the tears were so completely authentic, and she was trying so hard to hold them back and keep her dad from seeing them.  Her dad/my ex was already mad at my presence – which is also why I had to drive away at that moment and couldn’t console her whatsoever.

My son, started sucking his thumb at the age of four.  When increased visitation started at the age of 3, he spent 9 months telling me how he would go to an imaginary house and asking me to drive around to find the house so he could show me where he was going.  He then realized that it wasn’t real, and other coping mechanisms set in.  During those same initial months, he bit me incessantly and basically had a personality change – going from sweet to angry.   This regression has progressed, and before leaving for the week’s visitation – he actually tried to lift my shirt so he could suck on my breast (my daughter was not present at this time).

When my kids returned, my daughter shared with me that she has been letting her brother put her hand in her shirt as he does mine for comfort while he sucks his thumb.  She also has been letting him suck her little nipple (she is 8).  I was disturbed from hearing this in so many ways … saddened that my son felt such anxiety about being there, and that my daughter’s need to help him wound up being so strong.  Upset that she was doing that and wondering why when she hears me repeatedly tell him that he is not even allowed to touch my breast, and that his hand must stay in the middle of my shirt.  To my children,  I only described how I was so sad that he felt that way, and that I would work on finding him help asap.

Today in my daughter’s therapy session, I found out that she has been doing this for him for quite some time.

I am saddened and upset and worried in so many levels.

I am thankful and grateful for hearing what is going on so I can do something about it.

I am scared about hearing what else is going on to cause such anxiety in my little one.  But I feel brave that now is the time for me to open my ears and my heart and listen carefully on all levels.

I am thankful that my daughter’s therapist will be writing a referral and recommendation that our son go through a comprehensive medical and psychological evaluation, and that she is helping me look for the best place to take him.

 

Can a narcissist ever be a “better parent”?

I had a conversation the other day with a potential therapist for my son.  It’s a group whose clientele is about 80% families who are divorcing or separating, and has a lot of court experience.  This is the upside.  I meet with them tomorrow to learn more.

But there’s something in the original conversation that worries me.  The therapist (and executive director of the practice) said that they require working with both the parents, and that their goal is to ultimately create better parenting all the way around for the kids.

In other words – she sees it that the best outcome is that by working together with their dad, they can help him improve his parenting, and the kids win.

In theory – I agree wholeheartedly.

In practice – my gut is screaming as though I’m in a horror house.  Yes… having hope is good.  Accepting reality is better.

I spent years “hoping” he could be the better husband he said he wanted to be.  Heck, he professed his love and his desire to do anything to save his marriage on the night our youngest child was born.  He then went home to sleep.  The next morning… I needed to leave the hospital, and needed his input on what we would name our son.  But… it was noon and I still couldn’t get in touch with him (thank God my parents were watching our daughter).  Then it was 12:30pm, 1pm…   When I asked what happened, he was incredulous… “I was SLEEPING” he said to me self-righteously.  How dare I actually wake him up and disturb his slumber?

My biggest regret in life was that I didn’t file for a protective order when he was physically harmful to me while holding our infant son.

Why didn’t I?

I was still hopeful back then.  I didn’t want to block him from my kids – he was their dad, and they should know him, right?  And of course, perhaps all this would blow over and he’ll become a “better father”.

It’s five years later and I’m still waiting.

Narcissists don’t change.  They can’t.  And I need to instill that long-learned (and earned) sense of reality in my children, so they don’t hold out useless, delusional hope for years like I did.  He just doesn’t get it, and even if he pretends he does for a while… he really just doesn’t and will always resort back to who he really is.

It seems so essential to me that we make the focus on accepting that and teaching my children (and me) how to deal with a narcissist, have -and enforce- healthy boundaries, and to know when to draw the line on having any relationship whatsoever.

 

One Mom’s Battle

I found a new blog yesterday.  I’m inspired and amazed.  It’s a mom who is in the same situation as I am, however she has been representing herself pro se through the court system.  I couldn’t do that – my ex wouldn’t ever represent himself and I would wind up against his angry, rage filled attorney.  Plus… that is a bewildering amount of strength to do that.

I haven’t finished reading what she has written yet to get the whole story, but she made it to supervised visitation.  GO MOM!!  It’s amazing and awesome that she now doesn’t have to worry where her kids are or how they are doing.  It’s so unfortunate and sad that her daughter’s dad won’t be the dad she wishes that they would have.  I understand that – but there’s also power in accepting it and coming to terms with it.

Here’s the site: www.onemomsbattle.com

“Mom, can I sleep with my socks on?”

This is what my daughter asks me.  Why?  Because at her Dad’s house, he won’t let her sleep with her socks on.

Why does it matter to him?  I have no idea… maybe just a control thing?

I leaned down to her level and said “Yes, sweetness… it is your body and your socks. You can chose what you want to do with them.”

Narcissists, appearances, and clothing

Narcissists are most concerned about how they appear to the world.   It’s not about “substance”, unfortunately, because they have no concept of that word.  It’s not even about the “have’s” and the “have not’s” as much as it’s about whether you appear to “have”.

So, often time, narcissists are focused on what they wear and see it as a reflection of themselves.  This isn’t all the time – as some narcissists believe they are above others based on skills other than what they wear or how they look (such as being extremely smart).

My ex is interesting in that he values how he looks and presents himself, although he is oftentimes unkempt himself.

He was also very concerned about how his wife looked, and now about how his children look – which are extensions of himself, and representations of him.  For e.g. – he refused to get me the simple, no-diamond engagement ring – because “no wife of mine is going to wear anything less than a 2 carat diamond”.  (which I eventually sold to cover legal bills).  He had the same demeaning way of looking at the clothes that I would pick out for myself – telling me that they weren’t good enough, I didn’t look sexy enough, I needed to wear better brands, more expensive clothing, etc.  He couldn’t buy my argument that no one cares whether I paid $22 for Ralph Lauren socks, or bought them for $3 at TJ Maxx  (and if they did care… I didn’t care that they cared 🙂

As I mentioned – my children are dealing with that now.  He has been having them change their clothing as they arrive on his Friday’s and change it back when they leave on Sunday’s.  He tells me that they “look like houligan’s” and that I “should dress our children more nicely”.  He says that they are “not dressed appropriately for school”.  (my son is in daycare… so what is ‘appropriate attire’ for daycare anyway??”  The daycare policy just says that they have to be in sneakers and not open toed shoes, and that they should have clothes that fit the weather outside.  Ok, got that 🙂

My daughter is taking the bulk of the issue recently, however, as he purchased her clothing from Nordstrom’s for her birthday.  She says these are “lame” presents.  It doesn’t stop there, though.  He sent me an email to let me know about the clothing he purchased which he wanted to send to my house.  It is worth pasting here:

“I’m giving <our daughter> some clothes for her birthday that she is going to bring home to you. I’d like her to go to school in these clothes from time to time. They’re not dressy, but they’re a little nicer than some of the clothes I’ve seen her in. I think it’s important for a young girl to have a good image and I think teachers are people too and they imply certain things based on how someone is dressed. Maybe they could be her Thursday clothes or something like that. I really would like your support on this so she sees us working together.”

Usually, I think before I respond.  On this day…I admit I didn’t.  Here’s how I responded:

“I allow <our daughter> to chose her own clothes.  I firmly believe in individual expression and not stifling the next generation’s imagination, innovation and creativity.  If Steve Job was only ever allowed to play on PC’s and conform to that code, we wouldn’t have had Apple in the world. 

Additionally, she is basically dressed at the same level of “niceness” as every other child at school.  She is adored by many teachers for who she is as an individual, which is allowed to be supported by her ability to choose her own style.

I apologize, but “encouraging” <our daughter> to conform in clothing or any other style, thinking or other form of individual expression is not something I can support.

All the best,”

So the clothes came home, and my daughter was pissed with it.  She eventually showed me the clothes and admitted that some of them weren’t too “bad”.  But she said she wasn’t going to where them, because that would be pleasing her dad, and not pleasing her.

Then a couple weeks after, her dad asked her about the clothes.  She told him she’s not an adult and that wearing fancy clothes doesn’t matter yet (she was so proud of herself for sticking up for herself).  She then tells me how her dad said “your mom is feeding you bullshit”.  Really?? What father says that to their 8 year old daughter?

The next week, he asks her again about not wearing the clothes he purchased.   She comes home to say “daddy called me a jerk, and he said I look like a jerk in my clothes.”  She then says she is “never forgiving him” and that he is “so selfish”.

Good for you, kid!  I am glad to see that she is recognizing the situation for what it is and standing up to it.  It gives me hope!

 

Way to go, kid!

Last weekend, my daughter didn’t want to go to her dad’s. So, since he couldn’t get the kids until later, or have me bring them to him – I bought my kids a little extra time by having to work around a “previous commitment” before I could drive them there.
Once they were with their dad, he of course asked “what took you so long to get here?”
My daughter ~who just turned 8~ says she told him “Oh, it doesn’t matter… what matters is that we’re here now and now we can have a great time with you!”
WAY TO GO, Kid! I’m so amazed by her and so proud of her.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. …

I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27

“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you,

Do not fear, I will help you.”

– Isaiah 41:13

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!

 

 

“So say with confidence, ‘the Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. …

What can man do to me?” – Hebrews 13:6

 

~Good to remember… what can my ex to do me? Why do I let him get to me?  Why do I feel fear?  Of course, I know that answer… it’s not what he will do to ME, it’s what he does to my kids that’s the scariest.  BUT if I ask for God’s protection, then can’t I also trust in what is said in Mark 4:40: “He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?'”.  So that’s what I do… my kids’ aren’t in the care of their human dad… they are in God’s care, and that is something I can have faith in.~

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” – Proverbs