Tag Archive | abuse & co-parenting

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.


Navigating Through Parental Alienation (PAS)

navigating parental alienationDuring the holidays is when I realize that this is a sad time and perhaps I feel a little blue. Navigating through the effects of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is not easy and there doesn’t seem to be a right answer other than prayers and time.

Today, I read about a new term called Hostile Aggressive Parenting (HAP) and this definition makes a lot of sense. It describes this as an aggressive form of abuse and maltreatment. However, it does say that HAP leads to PAS. It is my believe that either parent and even guardians can contribute to destroying the relationship between child(ren) and either the mother or father.

As a child, I experienced my father’s constant verbal assaults against my mother. His goal was most certainly to turn me against my mother or take his side. To this day, my father will still say hateful things about my mother. For this reason, I rarely speak to my father, although I still love him regardless. Plus, my father’s stories often contained elements of the truth, but unfairly put my mother down. He would say my mother was promiscuous and even refer to her as ‘satan’.

As a young adult, I also witnessed my uncle (father’s brother) turning his three children against their mother. It wasn’t until they were grown adults and married with families of their own that they came to realize there might be another side to the story. Although my Aunt may not have been perfect, more of the harm came from my Uncle then from her. Now they have a different relationship with their father.

Since my daughter was little, my ex-husband has been constantly undermining my parental authority with our daughter. He would call us the ‘food police’ and basically say our rules were extreme or unreasonable. We had some rules, but I would never consider our rules extreme. My daughter has journal entries from when she was ten years old, where she expresses her confusion about whose rules to follow and how to answer his questioning her. This ongoing parental warfare caused unnecessary stress in our daughter’s life during her childhood.

journal entry about rulesjournal entries questions

Once she became a teenager, she was open to moving in with her father, especially since he was offering her a ‘stress free house’ (read no rules) and a car. However, it is so sad the distance my daughter has put between us so quickly. It has been over two months since she left to live with her father. Still, she does not give me her phone number and my only way to communicate is through the Instagram app. It has been over a month since I have seen my daughter and I hope to see her on December 2nd.

Recently, she reached out to me and was asking if we could get together. Her tone seems to have improved a bit and she seems less angry? Maybe time will help? The problem is she still lives with her father and his motives are not so good. Everything he has ever done has an self-serving purpose. I cannot control my ex-husband or his wife, but hearing my daughter speak in a manner that is definitely not her is frustrating.

Last week, we went to my hometown to celebrate my grandmother’s life. My grandmother lived a long life and she was 97 1/2 when she passed away. We invited my daughter and she said she could not go to another state and miss even one day of school. Honestly, she is struggling with her grades and I am not sure one day would make that big of difference. Anyway, we had a huge family photo and it was sad for several of us that my daughter was not in the picture.

My mom is frustrated on some days and gets very angry at my ex-husband. I am not really sure how much of this is just her being a teenager. Dealing with teenagers can be a challenge without adding combative co-parenting to the mix. Today, I read an article called Offsetting Parental Alienation that gave me some hope. However, the other day I read a comment on Facebook from one of our readers that said their ex-husband was destroying their relationship with their grand babies. This thought just breaks my heart.

I hope my writing about this is helping some people. It is helping me to write these thoughts down. In July, after we were served the suit for custody, my stomach was upset nearly the entire month. In August, when my daughter was home and hostile towards us, we were completely on edge the entire month. In September, I felt extreme grief, knowing that I might have to let her go. In October, my feelings moved into a depression and it was a little hard to pull myself out of that. In November, I am beginning to accept my reality and trying to accept life with my daughter at a distance.

My prayers are constant to for God to keep her safe and protected. I still pray for my ex-husband and his wife and hope they will find their own happiness. Although, I know people rarely change. For now, I will continue to work on myself and continue working on my own health and happiness.

Accepting the Painful Reality

smartphone abusive messages-sIn my previous post Power Over and the Abuser, I wrote about trying to pick my daughter up for the weekend visitation. I had planned on taking her for coffee or sushi and then taking her back home. However, nobody answered the door when I rang the doorbell.

On Friday, I had decided to send her father an email and we had a brief exchange. My last email to him was asking if he knew where our daughter was and if she was safe. He never responded to this email.

So, today I re-downloaded Instagram thinking if that was the only way my daughter was willing to communicate with me, I would rather have some contact then none at all. However, I quickly regretted this decision after seeing the message that was written on Friday night.  I am not 100% sure if this is her writing this message or if someone is feeding her words to say.  Either way, it is a painful reality to accept.

She says:

You said you would call me and you’d let me know when you wanted to see me. You said that I don’t have to go over there and that you’re not going to attempt to make me. You said you would not try to make me call you. You blocked me on Instagram and unblocked me and blocked me. If you wanted to see me so bad you could have called (stepmother’s name) or my dads phone or texted me through here. I also told you I would not step foot in that house if (my husband’s name) there and I don’t bluff.

So yes I am safe and I’m very happy and I don’t what to see you until I know you actually want to spend time with me and quit playing games. I should not have to deal with this I am only 17. Nobody should have to put up with this. I would love to see you when you stop with all this sneaky childish crap.

My response:

How do I know this is you?

Honestly, I not sure what ‘sneaky childish crap’ she is referring to. It sounds like my ex-husband discussed the message with her. However, I did send him a message saying I planned on picking her up. Is this even my daughter communicating with me through Instagram, and if so, when did she become so full of vitrail for me?  It pains me to see my daughter acting like a completely different person than the daughter I raised.

Also, my husband and I still cannot figure out why she is so upset at him. I even discussed this with my therapist and it just sounds like they are possibly telling her I am picking him over her? My husband is and was a good father to both his daughter and my daughter. This is certainly a lot of wasted energy spent on accusations and innuendos.

She is right that I blocked and unblocked her on Instagram one time. Then I just deleted the app from my phone for two reasons.  One, I just really do not want to communicate through Instagram. Second, she is often very hateful through text and certainly do not deserve that. When she texts me through that app, I cannot even tell if it is her or them speaking. She has said things that we are pretty sure are not her words. So either she is not writing the message or someone is feeding her what to write.

So, this is my mistake for downloading Instagram again and receiving this message. There are two more messages and I am tempted to read them, but what good could possibly come from doing that. I never thought I would see the day when my daughter seems to enjoy hurting me and sounding very much like her father. I did that because one of my readers commented that I just needed to learn how to love my daughter from a distance. So I thought if she only wants to communicate through Instagram, I would rather have some contact than nothing. Although I refuse to be a punching bag either. So, if more time is needed for healing, then I am prepared to step back.

Shayna’s comment on my previous post Power Over and the Abuser:

I think that he’s being petty and doing what’s best for him, not what’s best for your daughter. However, with your daughter being almost 18, it doesn’t seem like something you should be allowing to get you so worked up. When you’re 17, you don’t really know what’s going on.. but once you get older, you’ll look back and see that you didn’t know anything at 17. I’m saying that to say . You’re doing all this work to fight against the father, when in less than a year it won’t matter anyways bc it will change again. Then it will be up to her and only her if she sees you. I would stop wasting money, energy and your sanity dealing with the father and starts trying to figure out how to love your daugter from a distance. He will piss her off in no time. Just watch how quick she comes running to your doorstep when he starts to have to handle her messes on his own. She breathe. She ll come around on her own. If she were 16 or younger, I would tell you to go for it. But there’s no point in causing more chaos for something that’s only temporary for a few more months.

I know she is young and 17 and does not really know anything right now.  I am certain she thinks she does. However, I really do not know what my ex-husband is telling her and he has a history of speaking negatively about me for the past 12 years. Still, this is so painful. I just broke down and cried after reading her message. It just absolutely hurts. How is it that everything I do is perceived as ‘playing games’?

So, I did read the messages and she said this:

That proof enough? (and this screenshot is included)
instagram picture







My response was:

What is that?

I have no idea what this means. Unless she believes these are me trying to connect with her on something. Is that Snapchat? I don’t know. I am not creating fake names and connecting with her.  The only time I did that was right after we caught her smoking pot, grounded her and she sent out a message telling people to contact her on Snapchat, I created false profile and sent her a message then caught her using a device she snuck into the house. So I get why a teenager might perceive that as playing games. All of my friends call that parenting, not sneaky.

She replies:

It reminded me of that Angela account.

So, I was correct and she is considering that situation where I created a false profile to catch my daughter using a device she snuck home. I was going to respond to that message, but decided not to even go there.

Instead I said:

I sent a message to your dad last Sunday saying I planned on picking you up. I had planned on going to get coffee. Just hoped to see you.

This is all insane. That is why I say that I need to accept the painful reality. My daughter is lost and gone until she gets free of her dad’s influence or gets a more mature outlook on things. When I was 17, I wasn’t behaving so well towards my mother. I hated her telling me what to do and refused to follow the rules too. Most of us grow up eventually.

She replies:

I find it hard to believe that you just wanted to go get coffee. Most parents would text their child and say hey lets go watch a movie or get dinner, but you didn’t do that. You just showed up and expected me to go. Anyway I don’t care if you think this is me or my dad or (his wife), I’m just glad I could finally get my point across.

My response:

I sent your dad a message five days earlier. I figured someone would send me a text saying you would not be available. I had already told you I wouldn’t make you come here and we would just go to dinner and I would take you back.

She replies:

You blocked him. He blocked you. What did you expect?

My reply:

I blocked him because his phone kept calling (my husband) one night and he claims nobody had his phone. I don’t want to play games honey.

When you are dealing with abusive people or even children influenced by abusive people, there does not appear to be a right way to do things. Everything I do or don’t do seems to be spun into something else.  I am tired of feeling bad and one of my readers is absolutely right that it isn’t worth dealing with her father when she is almost 18. Have to hope she will figure it all out one day and see the truth.

She says:

He was calling my old phone number.

My response:

No honey, (my husband) does not have your phone number. He still has his own number. Your phone number is cancelled.

Her response:

He never called (my husband). My number was connected to his account so it went to him. He has no reason to call (my husband).

My response:

That is not true. Your phone number is connected to nowhere.

She responds:

Doesn’t matter. My dad did not call (my husband). He doesn’t even have (my husband)’s number saved. If you want to contact my dad do it through. He blocked your number the day I moved in. If you want to see me text me ahead of time and we can eat dinner or something. This is my last text to you until you quit the games your so fond of.

In abusive situations, there is often a game of ball. They throw something at you and you throw it right back. As long as you keep catching the ball and throwing it back, they will keep hurling the ball at you. I need to let this ball go on by and not catch it. Many times they will throw another ball at you and it is your choice whether to catch it or let it fly by.

I feel anxiety all over again. It certainly feels like I am dealing with my ex-husband all over again. This is a stupid conversation that has nothing to do with anything. Again, my daughter is being quite hateful in her tone. There is no way to read these comments nicely. Again, it is impossible to know if I am even communicating with my daughter.

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. 


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?



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.

Ending the Cycle of Abuse

One of my greatest fears is if my daughter picks someone like her dad who is abusive.  My grandmother and mother picked husbands exhibiting abusive behavior very similar to my ex-husband.

My parents divorced when  I was about three years old.  My father began using me to abuse my mother when I was four or five and put me in the middle of his attacks on her.  Every-time I visited my father he would grill me about religion, unfaithful women and basically did everything he could to turn me against my mother.

In the end my father’s actions did not have the effect he desired, in fact I rarely spoke to him for about twenty years.  My mother never attacked him back through me, so I did not get angry at her for doing the same thing he was doing.  When I was very young and my father told me the hateful things and I did not have anyone to talk to about this.  I was an only child and did not have any adults to help me.  I felt very alone.   Nobody ever told me what my father was doing was not okay.

My mother had several relationships when I was growing up.  She always picked the wrong men, guys who wouldn’t commit, or my step-dad who was an alcoholic.  In the end she always ended up alone.  What my mother did was a great deal of time focusing on whatever man she met instead of me.  This was very hard for me as a child.  I think I felt pretty alone and probably abandoned.  Actually I still have some unresolved anger I am finally dealing with now as an adult.

My father spent my childhood pouring all his hatred of my mother into me.  I learned at a very early age to protect my mother from the things my father would say.  I think I learned to protect my mother from my father and even my own feelings.

As a child I remember being angry a lot.  Especially when I became a teenager.  My mother moved about eight times when I was a child.  I remember about four different men that she had longer relationships with.  I am pretty sure my father painted her out to be a harlot & promiscuous.  Undoubtedly he was probably pumping me for all the information he could get when I was a child.

I attended three different schools before 7th grade, one junior high and at least some of our moving kept me in the same high school.  Every time I made friends it seemed we had to move again.  By the time I was in high school I was a pretty pissed off kid and I was left unsupervised a lot.  I ended up associating with the wrong kids, drinking a lot when I was a sophomore in high school, pretty much rebelling against the rules.  I also associated with the wrong people right out of high school and got in a lot of trouble.

I moved to another state when I was twenty and left all my friends.  I did not get in trouble again and became pretty responsible.  Unfortunately this is when I met my ex-husband.  Our relationship was a roller coaster and went from good to bad to okay.  We never really had a good relationship.

My problem was two things.   My ex-husband was very much like my father, which probably felt pretty normal.  I also had no example, while watching my mother, of what a good relationship looked like.  I had also learned that I would rather be miserable with my ex-husband than miserable without him.

I left my ex-husband plenty of times, but I always took him back or went back voluntarily.  As I mentioned in a previous blog post, women leave 7 times on average before they finally leave for good.  My instincts were right, although he would tell me things like, “All relationships have problems, you don’t  know what goes on behind closed doors.”   I always would reply, “Yes, but I just don’t think it should be this difficult, this hard, we should get along better.”  If you are with an abusive man, this is not what will happen, probably not ever.  The rules are completely one sided and they were not in my favor.

Fear of my ex-husband kept me there, fear of how to survive on my own kept me there, fear on how to raise my daughter alone kept me there, fear kept me pretty paralyzed.

The real turning point happened when I remember making the decision that I would rather live in my car than live with my ex-husband any longer.  That was when my ex-husband lost me for good.  I knew that I would never allow myself to trust that man again.  That was the time I knew I would never go back.

Things worked out pretty good for me.  I had a business I had built that took off, I purchased my own home and I began setting boundaries for what I would accept and not not accept.   I was also attending Alanon and going to Domestic Abuse counseling.  When the domestic abuse counselors described my relationship in detail, it was more than disturbing, as if they had a window into my life for all those years.  How could complete strangers know my relationship so well.

My abusive ex-husband is not very special at all.  In fact, he is simple a classic domestic abuser.  I do not like my ex-husband very much but I do not hate him.  I hate the things he does to my daughter.  I know he is a weak person to do these things.  I also know part of the reasons he attacks me like he does is because I left him and I am doing well without him.

I dated a few men after divorcing my ex-husband.  I was really worried about getting into another unhealthy relationship over and over like my mother did.  I finally decided that I would be perfectly okay alone.  I made the decision that I was done dating and if I was meant to have a relationship… God was going to have to send him to me.  You know what… God did.

So maybe what I am doing for my daughter by giving her tools on how to get out of the middle, giving her and example of a healthier relationship, and I believe I am provided her with a bit more stability than I had as a child.  Just maybe I have changed my life enough that my daughter might not pick an abuser.  I have prayed to God to let the Cycle of Abuse End with me.

I guess, now, that too I must turn over to God.

Abusive Ex-Husband Trying to Alienate Mother

My daughter is 13 right now and it amazes me of how many years my abusive ex-husband has been trying to use her as a pawn, weapon or any way to hurt me.  I came across an email I sent to my attorney 7 years ago regarding a bizarre reaction my 6 year old had when returning home from a visit to her father’s house.

I almost have an image of that day in my head because the reaction she had was so strange and unwarranted.  I cannot remember what we were doing in the kitchen, maybe making dinner, but that is where the situation took place.   We were in the kitchen and she suddenly reeled back from me, like she was scared and said, “You scare me mommy!”  I was caught completely off guard because there was no reason for her to say something like that.  It seemed like her father must have said something to her before she came home.  Dealing with Parental Alienation Syndrome is probably one of the most challenging situations to deal with.

I never knew what he said to make her react like that.  She was so young at the time and I may never know what was said to her.

My email to my attorney on March 20, 2005:

Well obviously something was said at his house.

We made PB&J for her then went to the park.  Then we snuggled on the couch and I said, “You said earlier that I scared you, what do I do that scares you.”  She shrugged her shoulders.  I said, “If I do anything that scares you, I need to know about it so I do not do it anymore.  What is it I do that scares you?”  She said, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Can he do this?  This is obviously not healthy for our daughter.

How do you combat mental abuse with your children when your ex-husband is constantly saying negative, untrue or unhealthy comments?

  • Negative or Untrue Comments:  One thing I have taught my daughter is ‘Actions Speak Louder Than Words’.   I truly believe even though he says really untrue things his actions or my actions can prove the truth.  For instance, many of the comments he has said I have simply overcome by consistency with my actions.
  • Disney Dad: One thing I have done regarding the no rules ‘Disney Dad’ visitations is teach her that we have rules because I love her.  If I did not love her I would let her eat whatever she wants, not worry about where she goes or care for her.
  • Buying Love:  In dealing with the showering her with gifts to buy her love which was beginning to work.  I have taught my daughter that money cannot buy love.   The things most important in life are things that cannot be bought.  She understands this more as she gets older and has a real relationship with me when compared to a very superficial relationship with her father.  He has not spent the quality time with her to help establish a real bond.
  • Putting Her In the Middle: this is an extremely challenging situation to deal with.  It is very difficult to deal with her being put in the middle of my ex-husband’s personal war against me.  I have learned not to go to him for anything regarding our daughter.  I mean when she returns home and has repeated something he said that was just out-of-line it did more harm if he knew I got the message.  It only caused more harm for our daughter.  So instead I have tried to give her things to say, “I don’t know, ask my mom.”  “Dad, I really don’t want to be in the middle.”  “These topics make me uncomfortable.” Etc….

I am not going to say I have the perfect answers but this has been hard raising her and dealing with the constant attack coming from my ex-husband.  It is terrible that he uses her like that and it legally should not be allowed.  It is truly a shame that the courts do not get involved in parenting.  So many children are put in the middle of negative divorces.

In one of the books I read, Joint Custody with a Jerk, it described our situation as the worse type of divorce. Obviously divorce is never good for a child but living in a bad marriage is certainly not healthy either.

  1. Ideal Divorce Scenario – where both parents work together for the best interest of the child.  They try to create similar household structures so the child can go back and forth with the least disruption.
  2. Indifferent Divorce Scenario – where both parents maybe are really working with each other but continue with their own lives.  They may not be truly working with each other but they are not trying to work against the other parent.  I believe in this situation the child would be less in the middle than the next one I am about to describe.
  3. Absentee Parent Divorce Scenario – I am not as familiar with this but I have witnessed this with other people I have known throughout my life.  It seems like this can be better than the Parental Warfare Divorce but can be negative depending on the single parenting style.  I guess it depends if they say negative things about the ex-husband or if they do their best to discourage the absentee parent from visiting their children.  Or if they try to make the child/children dislike the other parent to the point the absentee parent gives up all contact.  I have seen children deal with abandonment issues and have trouble with trusting people in their lives.  As I said, I personally have not encountered this but when you deal with an ex-spouse waging war I would rather they just go away then stay.
  4. Ongoing Parental Warfare Divorce Scenario – where one or both parents continue an ongoing battle and work against each other.   One or both parents may try to put the child in the middle, use the child against other parent and create opposite households environments.  One or both parents may say negative comments about the other parent that creates a very unhealthy situation for the child.  The best case for this scenario is for one parent to try to not to respond or engage in this parental warfare.  In this scenario if only one parent can create a healthy environment for the child it is the best that can be done especially if the other parent refuses to let go of their hatred for years to come.

My divorce falls under the category of Ongoing Parental Warfare Divorce Scenario.   This makes me so sad because there is absolutely nothing I can say to appeal to my ex-husband to discontinue this private war he is determined to continue.  The best I can do is try to teach my daughter right from wrong and encourage her to say what is on her mind.

Unfortunately my daughter has had to learn things she should not know at an early age.  I guess the things I am teaching her are really life lessons.  My ex-husband encourages her to go against my rules when she is not near me.  He exposes her to things he should not, like alcohol at the age of 12.  He tells her that I am not a good mother or I overreact.  His house is so loose with rules it makes our house seem extremely strict.  Honestly, this is not so unlike peer pressure in some regards.  What she has to learn is she knows right from wrong and try to do the next right thing.

Parental Warfare

Are you a parent
Or a soldier at war
Attention on deck !
Clear the floor
Major parent is here
You know the intention
Not to relate and show affection
Sights are set
Both hands are full
Projections at you
Eyes steadfast for
Objects in motion
Centrifugal force
Propelled by emotion
Were you trained in parental warfare
I’ve got deep battle scars
Do you even care
A prisoner of war
I’ve survived under these conditions
Just another day
Just another mission
By Robert Wilkom

Poet: Robert Wilkom


Abusive Ex-Husband Reading Daughter’s Text Messages

Smart Phone Bugged

Smart Phone & Privacy

We were driving back from an appointment today and my daughter mentioned her dad did not like it when her step-dad (let’s call him Chris) called her names (like Turd, Buttlips).  I asked her, “How would he know if Chris said something like that?”  She said she did not know.  I asked, “Does Chris ever text you with those names in there?”  She replied that he sometimes did when he was picking her up from tutoring.  I said it sounds like your father is reading your text messages on your phone.  Her phone is password protected but there is no other explanation.  Time to wipe the phone and set a new password.

My husband and daughter have this way they talk to each other and I am not sure how it started but they tease each other like that.  I have never felt anything uncomfortable about the way they interact.  My awareness of unacceptable is really very high after all the stuff I have gone through with my abusive ex-husband.  It is very interesting for my abusive ex-husband to criticize something my husband is doing.  My husband has been more of a father to our daughter than he has ever been.

My ex-husband has given our daughter beer when she was 12 years old.  My ex-husband tells my daughter endless untrue negative comments about me. There was also  an email regarding my ex-husband wanting to put our daughter in braces.  I told him I was concerned if she was responsible enough for the care and maintenance of braces.  My ex-husband told our daughter, “Your mom does not want to spend the money for you to have straight teeth.”  If he truly cares about her teeth I wish he would be equally concerned for her mental well being and stop putting her in the middle of this war he continues to keep with me.  I also think if someone is that concerned about teeth he would not bathe her teeth in sugar every time she comes to visit to the point he makes her physically sick.

It is really hard for me to think like an abuser.  I do understand from different angles because my father did some of these same things to me when I was a child.  It is very strange to watch my ex-husband do the same thing to our daughter.  I only know my father admits he purposely tried to cause problems between my mother and I.  He admits today he was wrong to do that.  It feels awful sometimes that I couldn’t protect myself when I was a child any better than I can protect my daughter from this mental abuse.

I truly wish the courts would recognize psychological and mental abuse as they would physical abuse.  I personally feel mental, emotional and physiological abuse is just as bad if not worse.  I am still trying to heal from my entire life of dealing with verbal abuse.  I also do not believe someone who is being physically abused is not also receiving mental abuse along with it.  I would think it rare or unlikely to have a really nice physical abuser that never says anything hateful.

My daughter is only 13 and has been aware of the constant passive aggressive attacks my ex-husband and his current wife expose her to.  She has not yet found the voice to speak up and say anything.  She told me today, “I wouldn’t know what to say.”  I said, “Just be honest and say what you feel.”  I have encouraged her to speak her voice and let them know when something bothers her.  I told her they may not change their behavior but you will know you said something.   I hope I am doing right by trying to empower her.  I think she would just rather pretend they are not doing these things than accept the reality of it.  I suppose I can’t blame her for that.

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Abusive People are Not Worth the Stress

I tell you I felt some stress yesterday and a little bit today.  I received the letter of complaint to the school from the attorney and it is amazing.  He actually describes exactly my complaint that the school should follow their policies first and foremost.  He also went on to say that the school has a responsibility first to the parents and went on to describe what parents and adoptive parents were considered.  He stated that her stepmother is not her parent and should not be treated as such at the school.  Amazing I needed an attorney to get my parenting rights back.

I received a ‘heads up’ call from the therapists office that my ex-husband was calling them.  He even sent me an email that made bracelets sound like a threat.  Seriously is he planning on getting her braces to try to get back at me somehow?

My email to him:

I wanted to pass this information on to you for your review.

Our Daughter’s therapist is in network but this particular session would not be covered by our insurance .  This ADHD assessment would cost $600 and would be completed by her therapist.  You will find the document attached to this email.

They also have a Phycholgoist on staff that can do a Full Battery Educational Testing and that would be $2500… but he is out of network.  This would cover all information the school would need to assist our daughter.

I know you only paid $15 out of $95 for her pediatrician because they are no longer covered under you insurance.  Therefore, I am working hard to find something we can both agree on.

I have been in contact with your insurance company and I am researching all possible alternatives that would be covered and are in network.

His email:

Just so I am clear you are requesting testing that has already been done for free from the school (school’s assessment office).

With that being said I will not agree to additional testing since all testing has been completed and ready to be disclosed to parents….let me rephrase that, it was completed until you revoked it.

You can continue to send her co payments to me and I will pay my share as I always do.

Fyi….you might consider putting your resources aside for her teeth. She will be needing extensive work and possibly braces….around $5,200. Her next appointment is in June and I will give you the specifics then just in case you have questions or objections before we move forward.