DS is carrying a heavy weight of guilt for cutting off communication with his father. He "knows" he had to do it, but still has to come to terms with it. You all remember that feeling.
Today is the first time that I told DS that I believe his father has a personality disorder. I did not name it. I did tell him that it was not inheritable (that we know of) but was passed on by parent to child behaviorally.
This intrigued him.
But my answer to his "will I be this way?" made him smile. I said "No, you will not be this way because you went to therapy and because I went to therapy. In my sessions, I learned things to do and say that were specifically targeted to address the possibility."
So what did I learn in therapy?
Teach children to empathize. Use TV, books, life lessons as examples. Ask them how they think a person is feeling. When very little stuffed animals can be used. How do you think Teddy feels when xyz happens?
Do not do things that the child was supposed to do. God, this one was so freaking difficult for me. Do you know what two week's worth of dirty dishes SMELLS like! But, I was NOT to do them - it was DS's chore, and he needed to learn the outcome of not fulfilling his responsibilities.
Express your own feelings clearly. Do you come home from work tired and frustrated over a situation but put that happy face on and keep going? Yeah, I did too. I learned to come in the door hug each child and say "I've had a really rotten day and need to time myself out for a little while." It took awhile, but the kids learned that if they left me alone for a bit, I would rejoin them in a good mood. They, in turn, when feeling a little out of control (dang teen hormones) would time themselves out.
Listen. I do a lot of nodding. I don't try to give advice or fix situations. I nod and say I understand why they feel the way they do.
Don't demonize the Ex. Harder to do than it sounds if your kids are anything like mine. My kids can read me like a book and know when I'm holding back a comment or a thought. But resist the temptation to point out the obvious error in action or judgement by the Ex. If my kids try to bust me, I try to say "it was a grown up thought that I'll keep to myself" They huff, but they accept it.
Do try to reinforce the positives that Ex had. Yeah another really difficult area. But, my Ex was musically talented and son has that gene. Sometimes just little things like that help. Daughter got his drawing ability. I lack in all creative aspects.
Seize the moment. Did Ex not show for visitation? or some other lame arse move that lets the kids down. Jump on it positively! When the child hears things like "I'm sorry he won't be able to see you (be there, etc.), but I'm looking forward to having the extra time with you. I've been wanting to "fill in the blank" and now we can do it together! they feel a whole lot better. Then go make a kodak moment out of it!
I hope that helps some of you who are worrying about their children. Obviously there is no cure all and kids will always be kids and parents will always be wrong. We can only do the best we can. You'll mess up, slip up, and hopefully the kids will tell you when you do. You just try better next time.
As always, many positive thoughts.
[This message edited by downfall at 9:25 PM, December 1st (Thursday)]
Ah, but she can't take you any way
You don't already know how to go ~ Eagles
My therapist met with me and the eldest 11 months ago. She has heard recordings - mostly from the voice mail messages he left on my cell phone. He has a bad habit of butt dialing. The worst was a 20 minute conversation he was having with my in-laws, last Nov.
She told me, in order to heal, I needed to minimize my contact with son. Keep the conversations to work and weather. I didn't listen. I wanted to "fix" things, get him to see how hurt I was and that what he said, did and critcized me over hurt so much.
I see so clearly now that alot of my desire to "fix" it was really transferred from my marital relationship. I spent 30 years trying to fix it, trying to get him to understand. I should have listened to my therapist - she saw it. My son is abusive.
I knew that. It had been going on since he was a teenager. Any ugly thing his father said to me, the son would repeat when he was acting out. He shoved me, hit me, slapped me. It was too late a long time ago. I don't know why I tried so hard to get him to understand he treats people badly. I have watched him do it to his siblings, his friends, his partner.
I recently read a thread in Off Topic. A mom who is broken hearted over her son. He had done some bad things and would be in jail for 8 years (I think). I figure if she can deal with that, I can deal with this.
But I need to walk away. He is only 30 but he is worse than his dad was at 30. My husband was every bit as bad as his father. Just cruel and manipulative. If they don't see it, don't try to improve themselves - all is lost. The most effective co-dependent in the world can't fix it.
It took a year, but I am finally at the point where I can live without my kids. I would still jump in front of a train to push them out of the way to safety. But I won't walk the tracks for their enjoyment or jump to prove how much I love them.
(((its Rocky))) so sorry for what you are going through. Hang in there...
((((ItsRocky))))glad you are still here with us
edited to add: ok, just realized I missed the whole of page 23, wow the tribe's been busy in the last few days! I'll have to go catch up. So glad you all are here for me!
[This message edited by rainagain at 10:50 PM, December 2nd (Friday)]
I understand how you feel regarding wishing you had left sooner. I wished that I had left my stbx during our second year when someone informed me that he was cheating on me. Instead I stayed and I am worrying how it is affecting our grandchild. She adored her gpa and now refuses to see him.
Your son will one day wake up and realize what his dad is really like and get help to deal with it.
Living with out your children is going to very hard but if you were able to tolerate an NPD for 30 years then you can do this.
It is funny but learning about NPDs has had me recently looking at my mother and my therapist had pointed out if I saw that she and my stbx were similar. I didn't do any real thinking about it until this week but my mother was NPD. She was extremly verbally and physically abusive and I walked on eggshells in order not to piss her off. I was programed to seek out NPDs without knowing it.
Have you thought about why you were drawn to an NPD? You didn't deserve the treatment that you had to put up with. An NPD is horribly abuse and tears you down. It is time to lift yourself back up and find out who you are again.
I am so happy that you are still with us.
(if I have said anything stupid please forgive me, I have a massive migraine.)
Once the shock of discovering yourself in a position you never thought possible clears, your empty. First attempts at trying to figure out how on Earth you got to place lead you to information like "take responsibility for 50% of what was wrong in marriage", "you must have done something wrong", "make it work for the sake of the children", "divorce is not an option" and like society generalizations that are either myths, avoidance statements (made to make the speaker feel like it could never happen to them), or just plain not applicable to our situations.
This stage seems like a poorly written television police series where the rape victim is accused of "asking for it". Often you will see references to rape and infidelity as an emotional alignment. With NPD, spiritual rape may be the term most often seen.
In the grief process, acceptance is a stage. Acceptance is a difficult term. In the flight or fight response - acceptance tends to fall in the fight response. But what if we looked at it more as forgiving yourself = acceptance.
"you should have known better", "you should have seen it", "how could you have been so ______"; do those voices echo over and over again in your head?
Here comes the challenge....how did that voice get in your head? Exercise one: Write down the negative thought. Now really think about it. When was the first time you heard that? Who said or implied that thought? If your friend (or hell a stranger) told you this negative thought, what would you tell them? Now look at how you responded to "the friend" and repeat that to yourself over and over and over again.
Let's take "you should have known"
Maybe around 3-4 years old you touched a hot burner.
You were told "you should have known better"
Now - think about it. Really? How would you have known if you had never touched a hot burner before? Did anyone ever explain to you that it was hot or what hot was? Or was it assumed that you knew?
How would you have recognized a N when you had never heard of it before?
Forgive yourself for not knowing! Stop the negative voice.
Next step. The advice people will give you. Everyone is going to tell you about their story. That is because people relate to things thru their own filters or what happened to them. At first this may be very comforting, but often the advice given is unwelcome or not useful. Let's go with the "make it work for the sake of the children" one as an example. Society pounds into us that two parents are needed to raise a "healthy" child. Let's skip right over where you heard that first cause it is so overwhelmingly common at this point you probably can't even pinpoint it - it may have been Church, your parents, a commercial, a book, your therapist.....moving on.
Now tell me. If I told you my spouse was sexually abusing my child, would you tell me that child still needed to see the offending parent in order to be "healthy"?
Yep, I know that is an extreme, but who is to say what is abuse and that emotional abuse is more acceptable? And knowing that having a N as a parent has the possibility either of creating another N or a victim of a N, where does that leave you? So your lawyer doesn't know this, and maybe even your therapist doesn't know this; but, if you've done your homework you do. You just might not be able to prove the fact that your dealing with a N.
This leads to take what you need and leave the rest. When advice is given, remember that the person giving it is providing "normal" advice from a "normal" filter. Smile, take what you need, thank them, and leave the rest. Forgive yourself for your filters because everyone has them.
Forgiving ourselves for what we are about to become. Now that your seeing a little more clearly, you really, really don't want to take the step because it goes against everything "you are" at this point. You have been co-dependent, pliable, accepting, overcoming, and well let's just face it, trying to be perfect for long now that realizing you now need to "not play nicely" is against every instinct you have. But, your not in the land of "normal" anymore; your faced with having to manipulate the situation the best you can for your safety and sanity.
So how do we take this giant leap. You know your dealing with a N now. You've done all your reading. You know the tactics to take (especially if you have read Sam V.'s hints). You need to adjust your filters here - now that you've accepted that the filters exist and forgiven yourself for them.
Would you approach someone with mental retardation or a physical disability and just come out and say "I need ______".
Probably not, right? You would take into consideration that person's limitations, their knowledge (filters) and adjust your request accordingly. You would do this because you can "see" the person. Now start seeing your N. Your N cannot empathize; therefore, cannot see the benefits when things are stated as "I" which is the exact opposite of what your therapist may be telling you how to say things. It may feel like manipulation at first, but really you are adjusting your wording (and sometimes actions) for the limitation (filters) that exist when dealing with a N. It will be unnatural for you at first. It takes practice and forgiving yourself for having to be this way.
What does this look like in practice?
I need you to pick up the kids early on Friday.
You would be able to spend some extra time with the kids on Friday if you would able pick them up at X time.
Along side the manipulation aspect comes the setting of boundaries. Something that "echos" or victims of Ns typically have trouble with. Learning to say No and forgiving yourself for doing it. This is where realizing your self-worth comes into play. We know that people have certain "rights"; yet, we tend not to apply those rights to ourselves. We have the right to be sad, angry, emotional, brave, courageous, and happy. See how those words turned around? Every emotion has a positive. Boundaries are to protect not only the ability to feel one way but to feel the positive along with it. You must learn to say No in order to protect your decision to allow a Yes emotion.
Your N wants to come pick up things while your not home. You have the right to feel safe in your own home and this invades on that boundary. Don't gray up the situation with thoughts or excuses like "well, it is still N's house too". Go back to "You have the right to feel safe in your own home". Would you ever tell someone that they don't have that right? Sure the law tries to impede on that thought with blah and blah so blah. But....really? You have the right to feel safe in your own home. Do everything legally possible to protect that right as long as it does no harm to anyone else. Say No. Then use what you learned above to rephrase what you need into a statement that they can understand. "If you would be able to come by next Tuesday, Uncle Joe would be here to help you load things". Then forgive yourself because you have the right to feel safe.
There is one other method of manipulation that you will need to put in your arsenal and then forgive yourself for. Your N feels smarter than everyone else. Use this filter to your advantage cause after all your never going to convince the N that they are not smarter than you. N says "You signed xyz and that is unfair to me!". Sure you signed xyz fully aware that you needed to in order to protect your boundaries (sanity) but your N is never going to believe that or see where it benefits them. Now is the time to play stupid. "Really? I don't know they put a bunch of stuff in front of me and told me I had to sign.". Forgive yourself for this one because how many times did your N play you for the fool? Now is time to let them believe it.
Many positive thoughts to the Tribe.
ETA: completely the thoughts and suggestions of the author to be taken or left as needed!
[This message edited by downfall at 4:05 PM, December 3rd (Saturday)]
Gotta love the wrath and silent treatment! This started this morning when I found out that my N husband has been sending out friend requests to my male friends on Facebook. I have about 5 guy friends-2 of which I worked with in the military in the late 80's and the others who are husbands of patients I have delivered at my job as a labor and delivery nurse. So I told him that I was wondering if he sent out friend requests to just the guys or to all of my friends. He couldn't answer that and instantly exploded. I consider that a type of stalking in a way. So I got yelled at, screamed at, obscenities thrown out, and then he accused me of being mentally unstable and "needing help." I tried to talk to him and all that came of that was more obscenities and more discussion of my mental instability...so now I am on Day One of the Silent Treatment. Wonder how long it will last this time? And that is the last time I will look at him or talk to him until he does. Gone are the days when I would keep trying to get him to talk to me or be nice to me...funny how we learn, isn't it?
He has been very involved in my business lately-checking credit card purchases, asking me questions about what I'm doing, where I've been, etc. I have made several new friends lately who I have been spending more time with, and I don't know if this is the reason he is doing this or not. Afraid I'm the one having an affair or something?
Do any of the N's out there actually file for divorce or is it always us that are led to do that after so much abuse? I don't know if that is what he is trying to do-push me to the limit until I file for divorce. I have done that 2 times before but listened to his false promises and backed down. Now I am not financially independent due to a muscle disease, so I am afraid of not being able to support myself if I did get divorced...of course he knows this.
I don't really know what I am asking or anything-what do you or did you do when you got the silent treatment? Just carry on with your life and act like he isn't there? That's what I have done the last 2 times. I, of course, am the type that thrives on affection and attention, and that is why he always removes that to punish me.
Is it possible to ever have a conversation with a N? What a huge disappointment this "marriage" has been. If you have to stay in a marriage with a N, how do you cope?
It's been a very long day...thanks for listening.
so now I am on Day One of the Silent Treatment. Wonder how long it will last this time?
Honestly, he is being emotionally abusive to you. Draw your line in the sand. He apparently wants to control and manipulate you. If you feel you need to stay, just don't allow it to happen.
I read a book somewhere on how to live with a narcissist and I am so sorry I can't remember the name of it. It actually said things like "talk to your NPD partner and let them know that their behavior is not getting them closer to what they want, (and what they can't have because they don't truly understand it), which is a connection with others (not sure if I totally agree with it, but I do know they don't understand those connections and usually pick partners that are very loving and supportive which I feel is because they want what their partner has, the ability to feel close to others).
So, according to this book, you would say "When you give me the silent treatment, it makes me not want to be close to you. I want to be close to you." And there was more but I can't remember, because I chose not to stay in a relationship with an NPD. But basically, you have to say things in terms of how what you want is going to benefit them, since it is all about them. Don't bother about your feelings, they really don't care. Just show them how what you want is going to get them what they want and you have a better chance at cooperation.
He's never showed rage or any of the more classic symptoms, at least not the ones that a novice like me would equate with N.
Anyway, I wonder if this is a glimpse. He's also got some other issues besides N tendencies so I don't know which way is up sometimes.
The other night, ex was supposed to pick the kids up for a visit and dinner. We have previously discussed that if he can't get them both (they are little - 8 and 4) by 6 p.m., he needs to call/text so different arrangements can be made. This is particularly true when, like on this day, my mother had the older one for the day. My mother certainly doesn't mind taking care of DS, but she often has the chance to go out to dinner on Fridays and has to turn down the invitation if ex is late. Also, she knows DS is hungry by that time, but doesn't want to feed him b/c she knows his father takes him to dinner. Of course, she's also hungry at this time but would never eat in front of him.
Anyway, I was out for a little while that evening and I get a call from my mother at 6:25 that ex-wh hasn't picked up DS yet. DS tried to call but had to leave a vm.
So, I call. He picks up and I ask where he is. He says he's picking up the younger one and that he got held up at work so he was late. He said, "I thought it would be okay for DS because he's at your mom's."
I was so annoyed I couldn't see straight. I hung up with him and waited about 30 minutes. Then I called him back.
By that time, he had both kids. I told him that I wanted to let him know how frustrated and upset I was. I told him that I understand things come up at work, but that we had talked about this before and it doesn't take much to call or text. I told him that despite his intention, that came off as an exceedingly inconsiderate move and that my mom and other day care providers are not interested in simply waiting around for him. It's not all about him.
He gave me what sounded like a sincere apology. There's not much else to say except sorry and I knew that. Not like I expected the seas to part so I ended the call.
So, I go home to wait for him to drop off the kids. Now, it's been several months since I've even seen him. I'm cordial and I deal with him cordially about the kids, but no more than that. We are certainly not friends. When the kids come home, the usual routine is that they get out of his car and just run into the house.
This night, he actually came to the door with them. I was shocked as I didn't expect to see him standing there. It's still very hard for me to see him. As soon as I saw him standing there, I just sort of slowly moved myself behind the open door so he could say goodnight to the kids and then shut the door.
He texted me right after he dropped them off. He said, "Did DS give you the support check?"
I said, "yes".
He says, "Ok. Again, I'm really sorry".
I say, "ok".
Is this evidence of that need for me to not think he's an asshole? Is this part of the N personality? In all reality, what the hell does he care how I feel or what I think? But, it always seems that he does. Even IC says it - he will always in some way want to please me. After all of this - the destruction, the lies, the pain - why does he still, on some odd level, give a shit?????
It's not easy. But you'll get through this. If he doesn't truly want to work on the relationship, which he doesn't want to learn how to do, then you are better off without him.
It's not easy, and you have a LOT of unknowns, but you'll get there.
It's been a hard road for me, with lots of setbacks financially, but I'm getting there and as hard as it is to deal with him, I have peace in between the times that I deal with him and that is an improvement from before.
His breaking that duck is a signal from him that I truly doesn't care about you. You will be better off even though it will be harder for some time.
It's still not easy though.... especially making the jump to admit that it's over or that you need to make a change.
That didn't happen.... we're divorced as a result.
And know that its much more peaceful without their stuffed up lives being in the same house.
Is this evidence of that need for me to not think he's an asshole?
Yes. I had a run-in with mine a few months ago when I ran into The Troll and she followed me in the parking lot. It wasn't enough for her to move in 5 minutes away from me once the ex filed for divorce (sorry, skank, didn't work; he found another crackhead), but she placed her daughter at the same school ours is attending. So I asked him why he didn't give me the heads up that she was doing this. "Your relationship with her is your business." I wouldn't even KNOW this person if it wasn't for you! Then he says something like, I never change, we had always been civil before I messed it up by attacking him, and I lost it. I told him no, I've always been civil and you've always been an asshole. I put up with your dumb ass. Or words to that effect. So then he tells me not to contact him except about the kids or the divorce. I'm like, "Look Stupid," in my best honey badger voice, I don't, in case you hadn't noticed. I don't keep shitty friends.
Thursday he calls (which he never does! we text) and as usual, it's an annoying exchange with him in his best "we're best buds" voice.
Dickhead: Hey, I want to take lola out of school on thursday for an aerial tour of New Orleans at 3 pm.
Me: Fine. If you check her out that would be better than taking her out totally but I have no objections.
Dickhead: I'd prefer to take her to grandma's for a while. They're billing it as a mile high tour, heh heh. They'll be serving champagne and everything. I just wanted to see if it would be okay for her to go.
Me: Um, fine. *said that a minute ago*
Dickhead: Well, it's not definite. I have a few other things in the works that might turn up, you know other plans. You don't have to decide until Monday.
Me: Okay, then, we'll discuss it Monday. *when we should have discussed it so that i wouldn't have to hear how your daughter is your plan b for the mile high tour*
Dickhead: You know, I have two vouchers if you're interested in going.
Me: That's okay.
Dickhead: Well, I'll get back to you.
There's only one reason I would fly in a helicopter with you -- to push you out. We aren't friends. You said to leave you alone, like I have been from the very beginning.
The whole thing icked me out so much that I went looking for him on the web, and sure enough, it didn't take me long to find a quote from him early November this year. "If I wanted someone to talk down to me, I'd call my ex-wife."
Yeah, we're such great friends and get along so well, well enough for him to invite me on a 45-minute trip, but not good enough to refrain from talking smack about me behind my back.
HOWEVER, in his little two-year break from being "under my thumb," he has probably lost more friends and gained more enemies than ever in his adult life; one of them contacted me personally with a 3-hour phone call and a 3-page letter. I could always tell when he was trolling the dating sites because he went from having 30 friends to 60, then back to 30 again once they realize they are all being played He now hides his friends list and nobody is allowed to post on his wall. Being a playa ain't easy....
[This message edited by veritas at 3:23 PM, December 5th (Monday)]
While at work, I called my lawyer. I am done. I have much support from friends, family, and even a couple of his sisters if you can imagine that one. I'm sure he expected me to call begging him to talk yesterday, but I didn't. Then after I got home from work there was an email from him "Let's cool off for a few days and then talk." Oh my gosh, I am still laughing over that one! Talk? Seriously? That's one of the reasons we are where we are. He won't talk. And I ignored that, too.
I packed up some things last night to put in a storage unit. I have copied all of the papers I could find.
I am sure he is thinking he can just waltz right back in again when he is ready, and I will be happy to see him. Not this time, jerk.
I have so, so many people behind me-people who have told me for years to get out of this. My parents have promised to help me financially, so that is a huge relief.
I can do this. I know I can. It won't be easy, and I fully expect him to fight for every penny. I can't wait to get to the other side when this is all over and start a new life for myself.
I am worth fighting for. To get my peace back and my self esteem back. I am a good person, and I refuse to let him destroy me any more.
So wish me luck you guys...strength to carry through and not change my mind.
Time to embrace the day! I have many things to do today.