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Stop Trying To Co-Parent With A Narcissist

One of the biggest lessons I learned throughout this entire experience is it is impossible to co-parent with a narcissist or abusive person. Whether you Ex is a woman or man, if they are a narcissist, there is no such thing as cooperation. It frustrates me that he gets as much attention as he does. He is not worth my thoughts or time.

There was so much energy wasted on my part trying to reason and rationalize with my ex. He played dirty, was not cooperative, and worked against me every step of the way with our daughter. One article mentions it might be more accurate to say “Parenting in Spite of a Narcissist”. This couldn’t ring more true. This article says, “You spend your time and energy undoing the damage that the narcissist has done to the children.” This statement couldn’t be more true. After all these years, my daughter still left to live with him for car and less parenting.

Another thing, my ex has not been diagnosed. My therapist believes he exhibits the behaviors of one of the cluster personality disorders. I used to just think he was an asshole. However, as time has gone on, I realize normal people do not do the things he has done. Something is definitely wrong with my ex. Happy, well-adjusted people do not continue to wage war against their ex for so many years. Whenever I read about domestic abuse and narcissist personality disorder, there are so many statements that sounds so true. On the other hand, my father has been diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder. That means he exhibits Schizophrenia and Manic behaviors. My ex-husband really reminds me of my father. This page describes several symptoms of Narcissist Personality Disorder, and every one of these statements sounds like my ex.

A real father would not turn his daughter against the mother. Some who loved his daughter would not take advantage of the difficulties between a teenager and her mother. She was caught smoking pot and lying. A caring father would have stood with the mother (ex or not) instead of against the mother and taking advantage of teenage rebellion. A real father would have insisted his daughter follow the rules and own up to her own mistakes. This father would not turn the daughter against the stepfather and stepsister. None of this sounds unreasonable to me. However, this is all fiction when dealing with a narcissistic abuser.

Another thing I realize is that I need to stop beating myself for the mistakes I made. There really wasn’t a right answer with how to deal with a manipulative ex who was working against me every step of the way. My ex had years to become a master at spinning his web of lies. Many times his stories contain enough elements of the truth and sometimes it sounded like he believed the stories he sells. This is probably why he good at being a salesman and gets to practice this every day.

One of my problems is I don’t play his game back and I never will. That is just not the kind of person I am or who I strive to be. Over there years through Alanon, counseling, and reading self-help books, I am usually aware what is my part and what is not. One of my problems is I use to react vs respond to his attacks or outbursts. I have done better at it over the years by not responding to his personal attacks. It does not mean that I don’t go on to think about what he said for hours or even days. It also doesn’t mean I don’t wish I could say something back.

Right now, I am struggling with how to have a relationship with my daughter. My ex has done such a great job of screwing everything up. My daughter is living with him now and won’t come visit if my husband is home. I am still struggling to get the full answer for why she is so mad at my husband. Maybe he is just easier to blame? In my ex-husbands last email he implied he thought I was going through a divorce. Divorce isn’t even on the topic of discussion. Maybe he wishes I was suffering more than I am.

So, I am pretty angry at him right now. Trying to find it within myself to forgive him again. I just don’t know how to have a relationship with her that doesn’t involve him. I realize she needs more time to mature and realize the truth. I don’t feel like I can have any real conversations with her that won’t get back to the spider. My mother asks why I give him so much power. It is hard because it seems like my daughter is on his team for the time being. To say she is on his team, means there is an ongoing game, and I don’t want to play games.

Now I am trying to navigate the waters of the damage my ex-husband left in his wake with our daughter. Learn how to be a parent in a different and more difficult situation. At least when she was in my home I knew I wasn’t trying to poison her against her father. My primary goal was to teach her right from wrong and to trust her gut instinct. This is something I am not exactly sure how to handle. It does seem extremely important that I take care of myself so I can be the healthiest person possible.

This post was written from a mother in grief. However, I will rebound and my words will come from a place of strength. This is just not how I feel today.

 

An Open Post to My Abusive Ex

Yesterday, I posted an email string between my ex-husband, his wife, and myself. The last email I received was a personal attack by my ex-husband. Although I did not respond to his email, his comments have been ringing in my head for the past 24 hours. Obviously, this is the narcissist’s goal, keeping you off-balanced… all for their love of control.

Actually this situation is bizarre. He never takes our daughter to one doctor’s visit ever in her entire life. Now, she lives with him he is suddenly taking her in to get teeth pulled at 18 1/2 against the advice of her dentist of 7 years. Years ago, I remember when she was 13 he threatened to put braces on her one summer so it would cost me money. How crazy is that? You don’t make a decision just to cost your ex money. This type of control is completely irrational.

So, last December we discussed his removing two baby teeth since she is missing two permanent teeth. Her dentist told me to leave them as long as possible. She said they won’t last forever, but to keep them as long as possible. She said this would get our daughter into long-term situation of having to replace those implants. She said they are extremely expensive and to hold off. She also said she had clients that were in their 30s and 50s that still had their baby teeth. So, this is what I told my ex-husband. I had told him we completely agreed with pulling her wisdom teeth, but did not agree with the baby teeth. He did it anyways.

Then I receive an email from my ex-husbands wife stating she will be getting bridges and/or implants and I was responsible for 50%. She writes in the email that they CCd their attorney, obviously meant to add an element of threat. Their choice to pull those teeth is extremely expensive and really was unnecessary. Plus, last December, I told them that I did not agree with this decision and whatever costs are on them.

Sending emails like this will not change the fact that you are still responsible for 50% of the cost. Our response was just a reminder that it has been past 30 days. If you feel that you only owe a certain amount then just pay it…which you have not done.  You want to make excuses on insurance filings, etc. which has no weight here. If you can’t pay it then you could make arrangements but you think this is going to go away by deflecting the situation.

Your daughter is 18 and she chose to have this done, just like she has chosen not to see you every 1st, 3rd and fifth weekend. Why is this different?

You know as well as I do you owe this money and there is no legal jargon or opinion of yours that changes that. Wether it’s financial issues or possible divorce issues you are presently having doesn’t change anything (yes she discusses with us your conversations you have had with her). Enough is enough. Be a parent and pay what you owe…just like I did and still do.

His email is not constructive. It contains only one fact that I am 3 days late in paying him my half. The rest of his email is full of personal attacks, his opinion, and non-facts.

The bill he sent me was $2,000. Plus, he didn’t discuss this with me, nor did he give me a heads up on the price or even see if there were other options. He didn’t even have the courtesy to tell me in advance our daughter was going under general anesthesia. After receiving this bill, I contacted the Oral Surgeon and gave them our insurance information. She said she had to wait to get the response from their insurance company so she could send that to our insurance company. I am 100% sure if he received a partial refund we would never see a dime of that.

he rest of his comments about my daughter choosing to get the baby teeth pulled. Um, who is the parent here? My daughter is young and really not mature enough to make this decision. She told me her baby teeth were still growing. I am not sure why she believed that they would get bigger. Plus, this was my ex-husband’s decision. I don’t know why her teeth are so important, but he hasn’t taken her to the weekly therapy sessions he agreed to last summer. She really does need to be in counseling.

Then stating that she has chosen not to seem me every 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend was just a mean statement. Of course she doesn’t come see me. He had worked really hard on turning her against me, my husband, and my step-daughter. He actually told her that I have been bothering him for all these years. Um, no, it certainly the other way around. Does he believe his own lies? Is he delusional?

Then he goes on to mention something about financial trouble and divorce? Neither of these comments are the truth. Then he implies my daughter is telling them everything we talked about. That kind of makes me angry. I don’t know if this is his goal to drive further wedges between my daughter and myself. Unfortunately, my daughter does not realize that every single thing she told her dad about me for all these years was used as a weapon against me.

Then he tells me to be a parent? Seriously? Coming from the parent who gets our daughter a permit right after we catch her smoking a bong in a car. This was on a video and posted online. Then he goes on and gets her a car and lets her do whatever she wants. He couldn’t possibly believe that is ‘parenting’. My daughter did tell me she is happy over there. I discussed this with my aunt and she said, “Of course she is happier, she has less accountability, nothing is required of her at his house.” At our house we had rules and you can’t get a car if you are lying, smoking pot, and failing school.

Anyway, I didn’t say any of these thoughts. Some thoughts of anger hit me like maybe he is struggling with money. Or when I left him, I would have rather lived in my car than continue living with him any longer. He doesn’t even sleep in the same bed with his wife. I know this is true because he wouldn’t sleep in the same bed with me either. I have no idea what that was all about. He slept in the room next to our daughter, during the same years she complained her vagina hurt. Everyone suspects something happened. We may never know the truth.

I keep wondering if it will ever end. Can I actually have a relationship with my daughter? Is she just going to run and tell her dad anything I say? She is on his team, whether she knows it or not. For whatever sick reason, my ex-husband just can’t be happy unless he is screwing me. Using our child against me is certainly not in the best interest of our daughter. Truly sick! I just can’t comprehend how people can act that way and never feel guilty or remorseful. What is wrong with his wife that she feels it is acceptable to talk down to me.

This make me feel anxious, sick to my stomach, angry… every emotional under the sun really.  Sometimes I am angry at myself because I just can’t allow myself to sink to his level. Mostly I feel sad about what has happened with our daughter. I am positive she will think about this differently after she grows up. I hope that day comes sooner rather than later.

 

The Games Narcissists and Abusers Play

So, last month I received a $2,000 bill from my abusive ex-husbands wife. This bill was sent the day after my daughter had dental surgery and had 6 teeth pulled. They are supposed to notify me of any non-emergency surgeries before the event and not after the event. In email, she implies that their attorney was copied, obviously meant to be a threat.

I hate feeling anxiety all over again when I get an email from them. All this hell he and his wife have helped create between my daughter and myself has been devastating to me. I wound up calling the Domestic Abuse Center today and I should be able to get in to see one of their counselors shortly. Her dad is such a awful person and it kills me that my daughter is in such denial for what she does see.

The very last email is about as hateful as you can get in a response. I know not responding doesn’t mean I am agreeing with him. I really can’t understand how people can be so hateful. I know these are unfeeling abusive people. My husband says they are just assholes looking for a response. I did not respond to his last email because it is full of non-facts. My husband says he is good at throwing the ball and that is probably why he is a good salesman.

Latest Saga of Emails

On, July 22nd, I received this email from my abusive ex-husband’s wife:

Attached are invoices from [daughter’s name] oral surgery.
– bill
– EOB from insurer
– paid receipt
Your responsibility is 50%.

I was pretty surprised to get this bill and this bill seemed to simply the surgery had already happened. Plus, she wrote in their attorney’s name, implying that they CC’d their attorney. Obviously meant to be a bit threatening. I am pretty sure I am not misreading this.

My response to her email was simply:

Please send a detailed explanation about this surgery. What was exactly was done?

Her reply was:

I sent you an attachment with my previous email that explains her treatment plan. Read carefully,  starts with therapeutic parental drugs and all procedures are itemized from the day of oral surgery. The GRA stands for graft.

My response was this:

What was done exactly?  I do not recall any notification about this surgery. Was it medically necessary?

Her response was definitely meant to be condescending. So I decided right then that she is an irrelevant person in this conversation. I couldn’t believe they had decided to put our daughter under anesthesia without notifying me. In fact, they are required to tell me in advance and work with me. However, they never have worked with me over the years. They work against me in all situations.

At that point, I contacted the Oral Surgeon’s office directly. I turns out they pulled our her Wisdom teeth which I was totally agreed about. The thing they did that I was not in agreeance with was pulling her two baby teeth. She has two baby teeth that did not have permanent teeth behind them. The dentist we have been going to for over 7 years told me to leave those teeth in as long as possible. That they could last until she was 30 – 50 years old. Her advice was to avoid the expense and problems of putting in implants that will need to be redone every 5 -10 years. I also called her Orthodontist who basically said this was a cosmetic decision and not medically necessary. So I told my ex-husband this very thing last December.

I also gave them our insurance so they could file as a secondary expense and I am waiting for that information to come back. She told me she would have to wait until their insurance responded before she could fine with ours. So, we already expected this would take longer.

On December 7, 2016 I sent my ex-husband this:

Okay, I do agree with getting her wisdom teeth pulled. I do not agree with getting her baby teeth pulled.
I just spoke with her dentist and they recommend she keep those baby teeth as long as possible. They said these baby teeth could last her until she is 30-50 years old. Implants run $5,000 and need to be replaced every 5 – 10 years. This will be very expensive cost to pay for in the future. We have no idea what her financial position will be in the future in order to maintain these recurring cost. So again I do not agree with removing the baby teeth.
Anyway, so today I receive this from his wife.
It has been over 30 days since I’ve mailed her invoice dated July 21, 2017 regarding oral surgery 043889.
My initial email was sent on July 22, 2017. Your payment for 50% of invoice charges are overdue. Please send payment promptly.Thank you!Sent from my iPad
My response was a little less nice:

Hi,

No. As I stated earlier in the month, the dentist is filing a second claim with our insurance. Once I received the EOB from our insurance, I will settle up our portion. You could have saved time by discussing this and filing both insurances on the date of service. Your inability to follow directions has caused your own delay.

It appears neither of you can be trusted to do what you say or follow the decree. Nothing either of you have done has been reasonable or rational regarding my daughter. Notifying that we owe $1,000 after having surgery you didn’t notify me about is not reasonable.

If you have difficulty understanding this email, I don’t know what else to tell you.

Then I get this response from my abusive ex-husband:

Sending emails like this will not change the fact that you are still responsible for 50% of the cost. Our response was just a reminder that it has been past 30 days. If you feel that you only owe a certain amount then just pay it…which you have not done.  You want to make excuses on insurance filings, etc. which has no weight here. If you can’t pay it then you could make arrangements but you think this is going to go away by deflecting the situation.
Your daughter is 18 and she chose to have this done, just like she has chosen not to see you every 1st, 3rd and fifth weekend. Why is this different?
You know as well as I do you owe this money and there is no legal jargon or opinion of yours that changes that. Wether it’s financial issues or possible divorce issues you are presently having doesn’t change anything (yes she discusses with us your conversations you have had with her). Enough is enough. Be a parent and pay what you owe…just like I did and still do.
Funny to see that he misspelled a word here. He usually is more polished than to make a spelling error in an email. My mind is still thinking about this, but I am not going to respond. My husband believes he has told our daughter something like ‘if your mom really cared about you, she would divorce him.’ My ex-husband doesn’t seem to be okay with the fact that I am doing well and not suffering.

Children – Abusers Weapon of Choice

My mother was visiting this week and things just weren’t the same without my daughter. Normally, my daughter would be here and happily participating in all activities. This year, my mother and I had three short visits with her instead. My daughter has stated that she does not want to see my husband or his daughter. She said she felt like she would be judged.

The only thing I know for certain is my husband was not the primary problem here. However, I do feel he could have done a better job in how he responded to my daughter’s defiance. Plus, we both could have done a better job not responding to my ex-husband. Dealing with my ex-husband constant chaos, drama, and lawsuits certainly created disruption. When you are dealing with an abusive ex-husband who is parenting against you, I am not sure there is a perfect solution. Nothing could prepare you on how to deal with a controlling and manipulative ex-husband.

The visits with my daughter were good and she actually drove herself to meet us. She was early and remembered to say thank you for the meal. She also told my mother she was so glad she was able to visit with her. These are good signs that our daughter is growing up and maturing.

Continued Self Improvement

In the last fifteen years, I spent a great deal of my time working on self-improvement. Working on improving myself is something I expect I may have to do for the rest of my life. Sometimes I feel like I move on, but don’t really get over the abuse. Maybe it would have been easier to get over the abuse if my ex-husband hadn’t been constantly creating problems and using our daughter as a weapon against me for all these years. It has been 13 years, and I felt like our entire family was under constant attack. Never did we go a period of more than 6 months without some drama or hell being created by my controlling ex. After my daughter left to live with him when  she was 17 1/2, it seemed like my ex-husband has finally left us alone. The price… losing my daughter to my abusive ex-husband.

  • Alanon – I began going to this program in 2003 and it was extremely helpful and I still go on and off today
  • Domestic Abuse Counseling – in 2005, I started began seeing a Domestic Abuse Counselor and attending a group meeting
  • Reading – over the years I have read many books about varying topics: Joint Custody with a Jerk, The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Why Does He Do That, Codependent No More, etc…
  • Writing – I also spent time writing in my journals as well as this blog in an effort to continue moving forward in my journey of healing

Teenagers Playing Sides

Dealing with a teenager can be difficult under any circumstance. Then when you add an abusive ex-husband and his manipulative ex-wife to the equation creates one big problem. Plus, my remarrying resulted in a blended household that created another challenge.

Teenagers can be really good at playing one parent against another even when you aren’t dealing with divorce and abusive ex’s. It seems like teenagers can learn very early on who to go to get whatever they want at the moment. One good article is Surviving (Your Child’s) Adolescence that talks a great deal about how children and teen learn to push buttons to get what they want.

Perfect Storm

It does seeme like this situation of co-parenting with an abusive ex-husband was very harmful to our entire family. My daughter has certainly had some challenges in dealing with him. This situation seemed to create a perfect storm of challenges where there was never a single solution. Plus, it seems like there was never a day where drama and chaos didn’t exist.

Actually, it did some good to read those blog entries. I have forgotten so much of the manipulative stuff he has done over the years towards our daughter and myself. It is truly sad for our daughter that she had to go through that for so many years. It is more frustrating that there was nothing I could do to prevent any of it. No child should ever have to be put in the middle or asked to pick sides. Even today, I just don’t have any solutions to all that has rocked our family.

 

Healing After Losing Daughter to Abusive Ex-Husband

The other day, I realized something really significant about this entire situation with my ex-husband and daughter. The time I spent with my ex-husband was really not very good. There are not many good memories to dwell on about him. In fact, most of the time things were pretty bad, sometimes okay, but never really good. I think things might have been good in the beginning, but the verbal abuse, DWIs, cheating, lying, kicking holes in doors, hiding money… all this pretty much drowned out any good memories.

After my divorce, my ex-husband just would never leave things alone and constantly created problems and chaos. He would continuously use our daughter as a pawn to stir the pot and create problems. In most situations outside my ex, I can look back and realize all that was good for some particular learning experience.

Regarding my ex-husband, I never could figure out what good it was for, except our daughter. She was the one good thing that came out of all that negativity. Maybe that was what it was all worth, to have my lovely daughter. I know this situation was super hard on her too. No kid should ever have to be in the middle of a parental warfare.

However, when she decided at 17, she wanted to go live with my ex-husband that pretty much broke my heart. After all these years of my raising her and trying to teach her good things, she chooses to go live with my ex-husband. Although I know she is just a teenager right now and what he promised her sounds like a teenagers dream come true. Now, she does get to dress and do pretty much anything she wants. Now, I have to let her go and pray she will come through it all okay. 

Although, I suspect my daughter would believe her motivations were not about the car and promises of freedom. However, we all know my ex-husband sued for custody or because I am an unfit parent, not because he was the better parent, but because he knew he could save a year and a half of child support. My ex-husband has been trying to hurt me for all these years and I believe that was the primary motivation. Taking advantage of my daughter’s teenage rebellious state was just the ideal time to get her to agree to go.

So today, now when I look back and think about the twenty-five years of hell of dealing with my ex-husband. Plus, co-parenting with my ex-husband was really impossible. The better term would probably be oppositional parenting. I tried to be a good person through all this and kept doing my best to do the right thing. Damn that Alanon and teaching me personal accountability! Just sometimes it would have been nice to act like an asshole to him like he was to me. However, what good would that have done for our daughter. Although, what good did trying to do the right thing do? I still lost her in the end anyway.

How frustrating this all seems right now. Yet still right now, I have to believe this is all happening for a reason. That some good will come out of this awful situation. Looking back, I feel sad that my ex-husband still had so much control over this household. His continue manipulation created so many additional problems and I am not sure what I could have done difficulty to change the outcome. However, I do not believe things happen the way they do on accident. There is a purpose, even if I am unable to see what it is right now.

The best thing I can do is continuing taking positive steps towards healing. I am doing better that I was seven months ago. Today, I am able to sleep better at night. Also, I am taking better care of myself with exercise and doing things I enjoy. I know I just need to keep doing the next right thing. One very positive note, I have zero contact with my ex-husband now. That has been incredible! I just hate that our daughter had to leave for us to not have to deal with him.

 

 

The Abuse Did Not Happen

This made up narrative by my abusive ex-husband on how I was the problem just upsets me. Today, we are boxing up books for a room remodel and just listen to these titles of books collected over the years:

  • Why Does He Do That
  • Toxic Parents
  • Abuse No More
  • Joint Custody with a Jerk
  • Your Kids and Divorce
  • Successful Single Parenting
  • The Verbally Abusive Relationships
  • Victory Over Verbal Abuse
  • Relationships
  • From Survival to Recovery
  • The DNA of Relationships
  • The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage
  • Paths to Recovery
  • Energy Zappers

Wow, now this is quite a list of books I have collected over the years. So many of these books were read to help figure out how to navigate parenting with an abusive ex-husband. Honestly, I am not sure if any of it made a difference or not considering the outcome.

In the end, my daughter chose to go live with my ex-husband. She has no idea that the lawsuit costs us more than $7,000 and what a waste considering he did not do what he promised. He agreed to take our daughter to weekly therapy and he did not keep that promise. Although, taking someone to therapy who didn’t want to go would not have made any difference. Still, these were the terms and he agreed to these terms.

I am not sure how to feel about all of this at times. On one hand, my daughter made these decisions and she claims it wasn’t for the car or lax rules promised. However, many teenagers rebel against the rules, however how many have a parent that conspires with the child to undermine the other parent’s authority. This probably happens more often than I know.

Lets face it; my ex-husband out manipulated me because I wasn’t playing that game. Over the years I really tried to do what was right. His constant undermining created a very challenging situation as our daughter entered teenage years. Was I a perfect parent through this entire situation, probably not, but I know my priorities were in line.

Sometimes you can do all the right things and still feel like you lost a battle that you didn’t want to be in in the first place. Sometimes your heart can just get broken beyond explanation. No suicidal thoughts here, but I certainly felt at times I would rather be dead than feel the crushing pain of losing your daughter to an abusive ex-husband.

This sounds like a pity party today. I truly want to believe that everything happens for a reason. It seems throughout my life it always has worked out for the best. Unfortunately, you cannot see into the future to see how everything will turn out.

Tomorrow my daughter and I have planned on going to a movie. In less than two weeks, my daughter will turn eighteen. She might get a car for her birthday. She has two grades below passing, but my ex is not considering her safety when he makes decisions. Neither is he helping her grow into an independent young woman either. My ex-husband likes people to be dependent upon him because that gives him the power he so craves.

During one of my therapy sessions, I had mentioned that it seemed like all of this is my fault. That I picked this man and for that reason we have all this pain. However, as she pointed out, I did not pick this man planning on divorce and years of emotional pain for us all. Maybe I did handle this situation wrong. Honestly, I just do not know.

What I do know is I am a survivor and I will survive this just as I have everything else encountered during my lifetime. My daughter may see the truth and may choose a different outcome. My daughter may end up navigating through her own painful choices as I did. Maybe, I did everything right considering everything that we encountered. I have never spent so much time away from my daughter as I have during the last sixth months.

My daughter was first in my life for so many years. First in a good way though. I always made she was able to participate in school activities, make it to birthday parties, and tried to give her the healthiest mom I could be. I spent years going to Alanon and therapy in my efforts to be the healthiest mom I could be for her.

Today, I am struggling, but I know I will survive all of this. Maybe there are lessons for everyone here that I just cannot see. Maybe this is going to work out exactly as it should, but I won’t know for years to come. All I can do is continue to work on myself, take care of myself, and be the best person I can be every day.

 

 

 

Power Over and the Abuser

power and controlOkay, right now there is a situation that is outside my control. Although I have no desire to be in control, although with that being said… I really don’t like the feeling of being out of control either. This is clearly a Power Over situation for my ex-husband and he has all the control and I know he relishes every moment.

Side note, oftentimes I use pretty pictures of flowers and butterflies when can’t find a picture that represents my story. So now you know.

Yesterday, I dealt with a situation with my daughter and my ex-husband and it is on my mind. One reason I created this blog was to get things out of my head so I can stop thinking about them. So here it goes.

Last Sunday, I sent my ex a text message that I would pick our daughter up at 6pm. I had to contact him because my daughter has not given me her phone number for some reason. So, yesterday I drove 25 minutes to pick her up at 6pm.

My being the parenting picking our daughter up for visitation is still very new for all of us. My daughter asked me if she could skip the last two visits for Homecoming and studies. So I agreed, but I do really want to try to maintain some sort of relationship with my daughter.

I am not really sure why my daughter won’t call me or give me her phone number. All of this is rather insane. Her father bought her this phone and maybe that is why. She had told me she was “suspicious” of why I was asking for her phone number. I had told her I didn’t know what she had to be suspicious about. None of this makes any sense. I strongly suspect that this is a case of parental alienation by my ex-husband. Hopefully my daughter will one day see the truth.

Okay, so back to the story. So at 6pm, I rang the doorbell and knocked since I really couldn’t hear if the doorbell was actually ringing. Nobody answered the door. So, I drove home and decided to send him an email and it was time to get the lawyers involved.

On September 8th, we agreed to let our 17 year old go live with her father. Her anger towards me really began in the summer after I busted her for smoking pot. She became extremely angry at that time. When she went to her father’s house for the July visit, we received a suit for custody from my ex-husband. When she came home, she was more hateful than ever. She was determined to go live with her father and that was that.

So after spending $8,000 on attorney fees we agreed during medication that she would go live with her father. She is going to be 18 in April and it didn’t make any sense to prevent her from going at this age. Our agreement was that we would be joint parents and I would take the weekends and holiday visits. My request was that she needs weekly therapy until the therapist says she doesn’t need to go. We really believe his motivation at this late stage was to get out of paying child support because he paid the max. My attorney suggested no child support from me and he agreed.

He has not taken her to one single therapy session in two months. All of this is so frustrating. I have no idea if she didn’t want to be there or he didn’t want her to be there yesterday when I went to pick her up. Without therapy, she only has her father and his wife who are not really doing what is best for her.

So, I sent him an email:

Good Evening (Insert Ex Name Here),

Last Sunday, I sent you a message to let you know that I would be picking (our daughter) up tonight at 6pm (screenshot attached). Tonight, at 6pm, I rang the doorbell and knocked and nobody answered. Nor did you respond to my text or call me to let me know she would not be there tonight.

(Our daughter) asked for a little time to get acclimated and work on her schoolwork. I agreed to her request temporarily. However, it has been over a month since I have been able to visit with her.

In the past 12-13 years, I never discouraged (our daughter) from visiting you during your weekends. Also, I never alienated you with her as you have done towards me. I expect you to show me the same courtesy. 

Also, you have not taken her to one therapy session, as you agreed to during mediation. The therapist is still recommending therapy as noted in the attached letter. 

text-to-ex

He responded with this:

This is a false statement…nothing has been signed by you. I have done nothing but adhere to the mediation orders and if I recall when she was with you on your visitation I had to pick her up premature to the weekend visit due to “issues”. Bottom line, call your attorney. 

Okay, something that has been extremely helpful in the past is breaking down his messages. So, he says ‘This is a false statement…nothing has been signed by you’. It sounds like he is saying since I did not sign the agreement that I received last week yet, he doesn’t have to do what is says. However, his actions so far is to have our daughter move in and changed her schools.

Then he says ‘I have done nothing but adhere to the mediation orders…’ and by this he must mean than he has custody of her and changed schools. Weekly therapy was required and he has not taken her to a single session. Then he brings up something from the past that occurred in August ‘and if I recall when she was with you on your visitation I had to pick her up premature to the weekend visit due to “issues”.’ This has absolutely nothing to do with this situation.

Notice how he never addresses why she was not there at 6pm and simply says ‘Bottom line, call your attorney.’ He loves to use clichés in his emails. As soon as my attorney explains a section that was highlighted in the agreement I plan to have her file a judgment against him. In fact, I really want to play hard-ball here with him. Perhaps my attorney has some ideas.

‘Bottom line’ (do I sound more intelligent using this word?) he is not complying with what he agreed to do during our mediation. Plus, since our daughter does not have a car or a license yet, someone else would have to drive her away from the residence. Also, out of courtesy a simple phone call or text to let me know she would not be there did not happen either. Who am I kidding, since when has my ex-husband ever been respectful or courteous?

Obviously this is a power-play for him. He likes to be in control and he is right now. So, my challenge is to do what I can do and let it go. This does not need to become a fight for me… or something that I spend all my waking hours thinking about.

Anyone else experiencing something similar to this situation? In my next post I discuss Accepting the Painful Reality.

Aftermaths of Parental Alienation by a Narcissist

parental alienation - parental warfareMy daughter visited me this weekend and things didn’t go as I expected they would. Perhaps this was too soon for her to come home to visit. Right now, my daughter sees me as the bad guy and she is especially mad at my husband. Plus, we had to deal with three months of hateful behavior and blaming me for all her problems. This was while her father was suing us for custody. It always seemed like my ex-husband was playing a continuous game of parental warfare, and although none of us wanted to play, he was winning.

“If you dig ’80s movies, you might remember War Games. What did the computer realize about thermonuclear war? The only way to win was not to play.” – by Eric Barker

On Friday, I picked her up and we came home. She came home with a big suitcase to pick up all her stuff to take to her dads. The only issue we had was I was there a little early and sent her a message that I was outside when she was ready. Then a few minutes after the hour I sent her a message asking if she was here. About ten minutes after the hour I rang the doorbell and then she comes out with a big suitcase. I asked if she would please let me know if she was running late. She said that she didn’t think I would want her to stop to to text me.  I did feel a little frustrated about this because for years, she won’t make her dad wait for a second without being ready, but she doesn’t feel any need to be timely with the rest of us.

Another brief conversation was when I asked her why she hadn’t given me her phone number. She said, “Well, you didn’t ask.” So I asked if I could have her phone number. Here is a little back story to why I don’t have her phone number. My ex-husband disagreed with us taking away our daughter’s cell phone whenever she was in trouble for lying, smoking pot, or failing school. He told us it was ‘ludicrous’ that we would take her phone away. We consider her phone to be a privilege and if she is making poor choices she loses that privilege. So he decided to get her a new phone so it could not be taken away. When she went to live there in September, I decided there was no reason to have two phones and had planned on selling her phone. We are stuck in contract for a little over a year. My husband had an older phone, so I wound up taking her phone (since it was pink) and gave him my phone. She and I have been texting through Instagram over the past two weeks.

Okay, so on Friday night, we went out to eat dinner. We decided on Sushi.  My husband did not join us because he thought it might be best for just the two of us to go. Last time, we went to dinner, she was not super thrilled that he was with us. Her behavior did become worse and worse by the time she made it to ninth grade. She became more rebellious and began hanging with friends who make it a point to be deceitful. I do not think the pot smoking video I found was the first time and she admitted to a few other occasions of drugs and drinking. Hard to say how long this has been going on.

That night, she and I went out to eat dinner. My husband did not come. I do think there are some frustrations and resentments between them. He is pissed off on how disrespectful she is to me and how she talks to me. She is pissed off at him because of how he talks to her. He thinks it is because he won’t put up with her disrespect. He says she is a teenager and she needs to be respectful when she is in our home. What pisses him off is when hears her talk to me, he hears my ex-husband is talking to me.

Let me tell you about my husband. So, my husband is a great guy. He enjoys helping around the house. He cooks, he cleans, he builds things, he fixes things, and he works hard. My only complaint about my husband is his temper and he knows that is my big issue. However, his temper pales in comparison to my ex-husband’s temper. First, I never feel unsafe with my husband. When he loses his temper, it is usually done in a passive way and it irritates me to no end. It is clear that he is upset and when you ask him what is wrong, he says ‘nothing’ and it is obvious that is not true. Usually it is over other things; like his work, or something won’t work, or that someone didn’t do what they said. Then he gets over it pretty quickly after that. He isn’t good at dealing with his feelings in a constructive way, and that is what irritates me. Other than that, I really can’t complain about anything.

So the relationship with my husband and my daughter actually was going pretty well for years. The only problem was my ex-husband had told her that she only has one dad. That my husband is not her real dad and she doesn’t have to do what he says. I am really not sure what else has been told. I believe these comments were due to my ex-husband’s insecurity because my husband has been more of a father to our daughter than her biological dad. My husband has also been a full time dad of his daughter who is now eighteen. We haven’t had problems with her and she is still living with us while working full-time and going to school. This daughter is also pretty intolerant of my daughter blaming others and when they have conversations, she has told her exactly that. My daughter is sneaking around smoking pot and my step-daughter is not.

So, now to Saturday. We had been up and had done quite a few things and my daughter woke up sometime after 10 am. She was in the kitchen cooking breakfast. I said good morning to her. We had discussed cleaning her room  (because it is a disaster area). She asked if I could give her a little time to wake up first and I said okay. Then I asked her not to forget to send me her number. Then she said this, “I am suspicious of why you are asking for my number.” I asked her what she meant. She said, “Well, why are you asking for it now? Why didn’t you ask for it earlier?” I had said that there was nothing to be suspicious over, and that I had told her the day she left to go to her father’s house that I didn’t have her number and she would have to call me. She kept asking why I was asking now and I did say I was surprised I had to ask at all.

This conversation just escalated from here and she seemed mad at me for more than one reason. To start this conversation did not go that bad. I did say, if she wanted to go home early, that would be okay, but I wasn’t going to fight all weekend. Things escalated from here and I asked her to pack her things and it was time go early. She brought up again that her dad doesn’t care about me and this stuff is my problem. She went upstairs and didn’t come down for a while. Then she came down slamming her suitcase down every step. A plastic piece brook off the suitcase and I picked it up and swept up all the tiny pieces of plastic from the stairs. She asked me what I did with the piece of suitcase and I said I threw it away. She asked if I was sure it couldn’t be repaired. This suitcase may belong to her father.

She called her father and asked him to pick her up and he agreed. I asked if she was going to say goodbye to my husband and his daughter (I said their names). She walked into the kitchen, stood there for a second, and then walked out. My husband and step-daughter were in the middle of having a conversation and then she just walked out of the kitchen. Then I asked her why she didn’t say goodbye. She said, “I am not saying good bye, nobody said hello to me. I never feel like I am part of the family” I did comment that, “You are always part of the family.” Well, my step-daughter overheard that and said some comment about she didn’t know she was leaving. My husband said, I didn’t realize you were leaving (they didn’t). Then my daughter says to my husband, “When I was hear on Friday, you didn’t say one word to me.” He said, “Well, you didn’t say hello either.” She replied, “Well, you are the adult here.” He said, “Well, you are the one who likes to argue.”

Our conversation didn’t get better. She blames me for all our problems. I said that I was very sorry she had to go through this difficulty, and that it was not her fault, but I refused to take all the responsibility for these challenges. She continued to blame me and I did pull out a huge binder of all my communications with her dad and said, “You keep stating things that are not true, the truth is here, this was incredibly difficult.” She asked, “Why do you have all that?” I said, “Because your father has been threatening to take you away from me since you were five years old.” The one thing I said that I regret saying is, “I wish I had never told your father I was pregnant with you.” This was hurtful and not good to say, but I can’t tell you how much I wish that. My ex-husband has been a plague on our lives.

“Such men are loathsome and I find it almost impossible to feel any empathy for them, though of course they never come for individual treatment so I don’t actually have to try. The word I use to describe them is reptilian: they seem so cold-blooded, without any genuine feeling for other people, and their desire to inflict pain or even destroy their former spouses seems inhuman, snake-like.” – by Joseph Burgo

I hate my ex-husband for all the challenges we have right now. It is hard to say how much difficulty we would have if this was just a normal teenage situation. However, co-parenting with my ex-husband has been more than difficult and he has done everything he could to undermine our authority and relationship. Was I the perfect parent, no, probably not. Did I purposely try to screw up my kid’s life, absolutely not! Co-parenting with an person who seems set out to destroy you just makes for an impossible situation.

“The narcissist initiates an all out war against you. He knows that you will go down–he will be the triumphant winner. Winning is the only thing that the narcissist knows besides his perpetual god—-money, property, social prestige, raw power over others. This is an extension of his extreme sense of self entitlement, grandiose inflated ego, blind ambition and lack of a developed conscience.
Narcissists Never Play Fair; this is not part of their psychic structure.” by Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

So, she decided to take her suitcase and walks out to the sidewalk to wait for her dad to pick her up. This was in the middle of the day, but I stood watching her through the window until I saw his truck pull up to pick her up. I get that she is mad at me, but she throws out blanket statements, but doesn’t want anything said back.

My husband feels she is just a mouth-piece for her father right now. My husband is furious and said that any hope of reconciliaton right is never going to happen, that my ex-husband will screw that up.

“He experiences the continuing reality of a woman who rejected him as a continual threat, a constant assault upon his ideal self-image; as a result, his defenses remain on continual alert against it. At the least provocation — that is, whenever shame threatens to emerge — he will viciously strike out, like a snake assaulting its prey.” – by Joseph Burgo

Years ago, I thought I was only dealing with an alcoholic, but it just wasn’t the full picture. When I went to domestic abuse counseling, they could describe my relationship perfectly without my saying anything. It was as if they had a window into my life.  However, reading about Narcissism, that is probably the best explanation of my ex-husband. So are more situations of domestic abuse rooted in narcissism?

 

Sources: 

Hindsight is 20/20 – Post Abuse Reflections

hindsight-20-20 abuseAs you know, hindsight is 20/20 and after dealing with an abusive man for more than twenty years there are decisions I wish I could go back and change. Obviously, we are unable to go back and change anything that has happened in the past. Knowing what I know now, I realize some decisions would have been so much better for my daughter and my family. Perhaps these decisions may be of some help to someone else who is going through this today.

There is a story that happened today that prompted this blog topic. For now, here are the facts, my ex-husband is highly abusive and has been emotionally abusive to our daughter. I believe my ex-husband has Narcissist Personality Disorder. We have been divorced for over twelve years, but his constant emotional abuse, under-mining of our authority, and using our daughter as a pawn has been relentless. This situation has created a perfect storm for a teenager. She thinks I am the one who has been harassing her father for all these years and her father has done nothing wrong. My reactions have certainly not always been as good as they should have. Sometimes I handled things extremely well and sometimes I didn’t. However, this has been extremely difficult and painful and I do not know what I could have done differently while co-parenting with him.

Trust My Instincts

First, all these year ago, when I was dating my ex-husband. I would have trusted my instincts and not allowed my abusive ex to talk me out of what I was feeling. My gut instincts told me there was something very wrong with our relationship and I would allow him to talk me out of that thought. He would reply with things like; “All relationships have problems…” or “You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.” I should have trusted my own gut instincts that told me something was wrong and just gotten out. I should have left, never looked back, and just accepted the pain of being lonely after a breakup. That loneliness would have been temporary compared to the hell of dealing with him for more than twenty years.

Not Tell Him I Was Pregnant 

Another thought I have sometimes, how much better it would have been if I had never told him I was pregnant. I should have just moved away and went to live with family. If he had never known he had a child, it would have been better for my daughter. Dealing with an absentee parent would have been better than seventeen years of emotional and psychological abuse. They say it is better for a child to know there father than not, but in this case, it would have been better for her to not been subjected to the constant emotional abuse.

Offer No Child Support and No Custody

My ex-husband had to pay a lot in child support. Had I known that he was never going to back off and would keep emotionally abusing our daughter for all these years… it would have been better to offer him no child support in exchange for giving his rights away. Our daughter has been a tether-cord for him to continue using her as a pawn to hurt us.  My ex-husband’s constant manipulation not only affected our daughter, but it also affected my husband and his daughter. Luckily, my husband and I stayed strong throughout this hell and we came through it.

Fought the Courts to Move Out of State

Normally geographic change do not solve a problem. However, I wish I would have fought the courts to move away from this state and live closer to my family. My ex-husband immediately put a clause that prevented me from leaving the state or moving past the surrounding counties. However, his continuous abuse has been extremely destructive on our daughter and my family. It would have been better that I had moved further away and had support of my family. Plus, if she had seen him less frequently, that might have been better for her. At least there would have been bigger breaks between his manipulations.

Bought a House Further Away

When I purchased my house, it was only five minutes way from my ex-husband and that allowed easy access for him. If I had known he would never give up and go away, it would have been better to move 90 miles away from the man. It would have made it a little harder for him to have access and continue harassing as he did. Living close to my ex-husband allowed him to pick her up during the week and ever week we had to deal with the emotions of back-and-forth visitation. In the best of circumstances, going back and forth is hard enough. However, when you are co-parenting with an abusive person, this makes the transitions even harder for the child or children.

Obviously, all these thoughts are a moot point now. However, when you are dealing with a person who is abusive or has a personality disorder there may be no winning scenario. The biggest casualty here was our daughter and then myself. Sometimes I beat myself up for not being a perfect parent in an imperfect situation. Dealing with my relentless abusive ex-husband gave our family little peace.

Most blog posts say when you break up with someone with NPD, there should be a no contact rule. Any contact with a narcissist is too much contact. However, we had children together and that made no contact impossible. However, when people (like my mother) say things like “You have to have a relationship with him… you have to work with him.” Unfortunately, people with NPD don’t play fair or by any set of good co-parenting rules.

I would welcome your thoughts about this topic.

The Games Narcissist Play – Rise Above

narcissist game overIt is easy to excuse games the Narcissist plays as potential ‘oversights’, however past behavior really predicts present and future behavior. Time to rise above the games. Time to think ‘game over’.

So, it has been one week since my daughter left to live with her father. This week has been full of sadness, relief, peace, pain, grief, and some anger.

First, at times I feel sadness, because letting her go was the last decision I ever wanted to make. It was bad enough before with her visiting every other weekend and being subjected to his psychological abuse.  Now she is there 24/7 and only gets relief every other weekend. The relief and peace come from not having an angry and defiant teenager living in our household. The anger is definitely directed to my ex-husband who helped create this mess.

Last week, we asked about picking her up for dinner and it was okay and we went to eat Sushi. My daughter was distant. She continued to talk about her driver’s license and her car. I realize in her teenage mind, that is a very important issue. One thing I realized today is that my daughter’s beautiful smile went away around Spring of this past year. This was when she began hanging with a group of friends that drink and smoke pot. Perhaps that is when we lost her?  Only time will tell if this was a temporary thing or something more.

Today, I called her new school and found out that my ex-husband did not even list me as an emergency contact. So, I drove there today and she added me to the list and gave me logins to access her grades. She said she had thought they were in a hurry, but she wasn’t so sure that was the case. Then she said, “I think the order of contacts should be Dad, then you, and who is next?” I said that his wife should be next because she lives closer to the school and then my husband.

I did briefly discuss the problems we had with the school district in 2010 and she assured me that would not happen at this school. Lets hope we don’t have a repeat of the school hell from 2010 (What a Tangled Web They Weave). This new school is part of the district that created hell for our family with my ex-husband and his wife. This situation was one of the reasons we chose to move away from that city.

After, I found out that he did not list me as a contact, narcissist game overI was very upset. My mother comments, “What did you expect?” She is right, yes I often expect him to act like a normal person, but he is not a normal person, and never has been. He has a double standard that exists. When she lived with me, he said, “I should have constant contact with my daughter.” Now that she is with him, she has a cell phone, but I do not have that phone number. Interesting.

I would love to think this was all just an oversight on their part. However, past behavior is often how you can predict future behavior. My ex-husband has been consistent for all these years and not much has changed. However, I will say nothing and now I am on the list and can stay connected with her grades and how she is doing.

This is all super sad and frustrating. You would think everyone would be tired of playing games by now.