Divorce and Narcissism: Is it a poison for our children?

I often help people through a divorce and they are mostly women, but the one thing that always sticks in my mind is high conflict divorces and narcissism.  Being a survivor myself and 5 years into his battle, I often have to step back and reset.  I have to wonder if I am being the one crazy and if I am doing more harm than good to Landry.

As much as I want to deny it, you see he still has control of me though our child, Landry.  He knows Landry means the world to me and I will protect Landry.  He may not be able to physically or sexually abuse me anymore, but you see he can still continue the mental and  emotional game through Landry. He knows I just want to raise Landry in a loving environment, but that is something he will not understand.  I will get blamed for the way I raise Landry rather than an internal look at himself.  It is my fault I have empathy and his empathy is not real.

You see, he is also very jealous of our relationship.  No matter how much I downplay it, you can’t hid a child’s love if it is genuine.  You can’t hide the fact that whenever I see Landry, she comes running towards me with a huge grin and arms open.  You can’t hide the fact that when she sees her dad she screams, runs and hides.  You cannot hide a child’s love.

The thing that gets me the most is not if Landry loves or doesn’t love her dad,  he is and always be her dad. She will always have some deep connection with him and deep down some type of love.  The thing that sends chills up my spine is the control he instills on her.  If she refuses to go and it takes 5- adults to make her go, 4 of whom are complete strangers and one her doctor, he doesn’t try to come up with a more feasible solution for Landry.  He doesn’t care about the pain he is inflicting on her in that moment.  He only cares that it is his time and she must go with him.   He doesn’t realize the long-term damage that he is causing her.  He doesn’t realize every time he doesn’t respect her, she is going to bite back hard at some point.

You see he doesn’t look at himself as the problem.  Landry is able to speak freely about her father is she wants in my home, but other than after a visit and me asking did you have a good time, I let her drive the conversation.  I never thought that divorcing a narcissist would be slowly poisoning my child, but now I know better.  He continues to poison us both.  He is slowly draining our child’s soul.  She has known this life of two homes more than a life on one home.  She should be settled in, but instead she is becoming unraveled.

You see for a long time I thought I was the crazy one and there are times I still feel crazy, but when you deal with a narcissist the web of lies is sticky and poisonous.  The web can break in an instant or it can cling to you and not lot go.  I am fortunate as my friends, family, church and medical team are there to lift me up.  They challenge me if I think I am the crazy one and most importantly support Landry and me.  I never had this outpouring of love until I left him.  I never knew what love was until I left him.

It pains me to see Landry’s soul dying, but she is strong and I will continue to support her.  She will have those moments where she thinks she is the crazy one and I hope that I along with others will help her realize she is loved.  That she has a purpose and not to let the poison take over her.  One day family courts will realize that a narcissistic or cluster B personality disorder is not a joke, but rather a poison that drains us all.  Until the courts realize what this poison does not only to the child, but both parents and families, the courts and professional people involved- the poison will slowly continue and continue to shape our future generations.

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Words cannot express how I am feeling.
An elementary school child has told you that she was hurt by her father
The bruises on her eyes and arms and her words mean nothing to you
When is enough, enough?

My child is broken and you do nothing to help her
Because she did not look you in the eyes when she said her father gave her the black eye, you chose not to believe her.
When will a child’s voice be heard?

You are supposed to protect my child.
They say Child Protective Services is supposed to protect the innocent.
Why do you chose not to listen to my child?
She told you that she got a black eye from her father
You chose not to believe her because she did not look you in the eye.
When is enough, enough?

Her father admits to drinking, but it is not enough for you.
The problem must be the mother.
The mother is always the problem because heaven forbid she believes her child.
When will you protect the innocent and protect the children?
When is enough, enough?

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A Broken System

Two years ago my world was falling apart, my ex-husband was saying I was abusive to our Landry.  I was the sole caregiver for Landry through every medical intervention that the medical professionals wanted for Landry and every medical decision.  Meanwhile, he was a drunk and I later learned classic cluster B personality disorder including narcissism and historicism.  I had already gotten through one battle with him by gaining the courage to leave this physically, mentally, emotionally and sexually abusive man, but now this.

Landry was the sole reason I was alive and still fighting.  Every choice I made, had her in mind.  I have and always loved and worked with children and now he is destroying my livelihood.  It took me two years to prove to CPS and the courts that I did no harm to Landry.  It didn’t matter if my ex testified to almost killing Landry because he was drunk and didn’t set-up the medical, life sustaining equipment that Landry relied on.  I was there to correct his mistakes even if it meant an emergency visit to our local children’s hospital.

I can’t tell you what it means that he can no longer use this against me and the numerous doctors and experts that have stood by my side and what it means, but the said fact remains- Landry suffered immensely.  You see once symptoms of abuse appeared after my ex was allowed visitation and Landry spoke, he plotted and got so many people to believe him.  The sad fact is they did until I got to tell my story.  He appeared as the concerned father, even though he physically abused me in front of our child and I had to get in between him and Landry on multiple occasions because of the rage in his eyes.

This is where the system is wrong.  He plead the fifth about physical harm to me, yet nothing was done to protect Landry.  I had to fight my way to prove that I was innocent and thankfully God and the truth did finally prevail. The truth prevailed, but at a toll on me and Landry.  The courts don’t look at these effects or the big picture.  They don’t look at how a Cluster B parent can have an irreparable impact on an innocent child.  It is time for family courts to take abuse seriously and realize how hard it is for a survivor to speak up.  Yes, there are people out there that may abuse the system when it comes to abuse, but the statistics are out there on how small that number is.  Survivors often have physical or emotional responses that cannot be faked.  Family courts need to be held accountable to protect children and those who have been abused.  #Domestic Violence is Real #Family Courts Need to Change


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Divorce: A Narcissist’s revenge

I spent the afternoon at my lawyer’s today and she got an email from my ex’s attorney.  It is not surprising to me, but just reminds me of everything that is wrong with the family court system and affirms why I left.  I shuddered when I heard her read that if I don’t drop contempt charges against my ex-husband then they will be filing contempt on me.  It reminded me of the revenge monster and why I try and avoid court at all costs.  I try to follow the court orders to a T so I don’t even know what it could be other than a scare tactic.  Unfortunately, this time I can’t avoid court as it deals with Landry’s medical and neglect by his father.

The bullying continues and the system allows it.  We have already allowed a continuance and he has had 8 months to remedy and all of the emails from me trying to work with him and even help him before we filed.  I learned today it isn’t about working together- it never was.  It is about revenge and control of me by him.  Everything is calculated by him and all I want is what is best for Landry.  Meanwhile, I want time to fly by so that Landry can decide what is best.

I want the courts to decide that Landry can speak up and speak about what is best for Landry.  I want the courts to decide for the children’s best interests and not parental rights or mother’s rights or father’s rights.  A child is a human being and not a piece of property that can be used to get back at someone.  I have learned through this the process that divorcing a narcissist is like saying ice can start fire.

There is no rhyme or reason and there is no logical or rational thinking.  It is about control and until that person is no longer in control then the games will continue and it is the child who will suffer the most not the abuser or the abused.  No matter how much the victim tries to avoid conflict the narcissist will find a way to to drag that person through the mud, the kitchen sink and back through the mud again.  What the narcissist doesn’t realize is that at some point the abused no longer cares and mama bear or papa bear will come out.

Mama or papa bear will do anything for their child.  Personal image or whatever personal image is left that hasn’t been destroyed by the narcissist no longer matters.  What matters is the child.  When the fire is lit then there is no stopping that individual until an end has come.  An end to a chapter, whatever end that might be i.e. no more shared parenting, a child turns 18 or restraining orders.

In the end the child still suffers because they lose a parent and in some cases it is the abused parent that they lose.  The one that actually would give their life for their child.  In other cases a child may find peace, but they grow up wondering and not knowing the other half of them.  This may be the best case scenario for this child, but in the end there is still a void in this child.  Divorce is not a situation that anyone wants to go through and divorcing a narcissist is a situation that feels never ending.






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Things I have learned about parenting with a narcissist

Today I thought I would compile a list of 5 things I have learned about parenting with a narcissist.  These items are in no particular order.

  1.  No matter what he will always be the better parent in his eyes and it will always be a competition.

I never thought of parenting as a competition, but anything I can do- he can do better (according to him).  While I have never believed this there are times when I have to let him think this way for my sanity.  The little things that don’t matter I might say something like- thanks for the suggestion that is a great idea. Even though inside I want to throw up and  I may have suggested that “thing” 59 times earlier.  He needs to think he came up with the idea to make himself feel better and important.  I have even told the GAL this if we come up with a solution so that he needs to accept it.  It is like leading an independent child to make the right choice.

2.  Always be prepared.  I never know when he is going to strike.

When things seem to be calm, I need to be on guard.  He is just preparing his next attack.  I enjoy the peace I have, but I know it is not long-lived.  There will be another incident, another accusation by him and I need to be on guard to protect Landry and myself. In the meantime, I also need to enjoy the peace because when the attack comes it is going to be long and drawn out.

3.  Gray Rock- Gray Rock- Gray Rock

I have learned through the years that he enjoys get that emotional charge from frustrating me.  I have learned that I have the power not to give him that satisfaction.  He cannot control me and no matter how much I want to scream and shout, I have the power not to.  By choosing the power not to, it drives him crazy.  A response like “that’s interesting” or “thanks for your input, I will consider it” sends him into a downward spiral.  He responds back being the unstable and irrational one and often asks what I mean and I just respond back with “that’s interesting” or “thanks for your input, I will consider it”.  I have cut off his supply and he can’t stand it.

4.  Document everything in writing.

I do not speak to him unless I have witnesses, everything is about Landry.  Hi Landry, welcome home etc.  Everything else is in writing.  We use Our Family Wizard and texts in emergency.  In those instances gray rock is essential.  I am not understanding, please explain…that one sends him in war as he thinks I am stupid and often he admits to things because he tries to take advantage of my “stupidity”.  It also usually gives me a laugh for the day because now I see how ridiculous things he says are.  Everything is business with him and I no longer give him my emotions.

5.  PERCEPTION:  This is my last one that I will write about today, but as I sit here and gather my thoughts, I realize that there are so many more and 5 items does not even begin to cover this topic and my experiences.

Everything is about perception, I no longer care if he thinks I am stupid because I know I am not.  I don’t care if he tells a thousand people that I am a bad mother, because I am not.  If anything his disorder has made me that much more of a better mother.  I have more empathy than I ever thought possible, because Landry is still in the fire.

I need to play nice as everything is documented and by always responding appropriately (as hard as it may be) the courts and GAL have now called me the reasonable one.  It has taken me a long time to get here and sit back and let him unravel, but in the end he has.  I have to remember the long-term and not the short-term.  If I react in the short-term then everybody that can help Landry sees it, but if I react  in a business manner to a pattern and have the documentation then it’s a different story.  My concerns are valid.  It is a huge flaw in the family court system, but it is there so I must deal with it appropriately.

I ask myself if it is worth it to bring this as an issue to the GAL or the courts or do I just document it to him.  Unfortunately, the answer most of the time is document it to him.  The courts don’t care about one time instances, but they do care about patterns.  If it is a pattern their perception is that it is purposeful and maybe even harmful.

As I finish this post, there are so many things that I now realize as I am no longer gaslighted.  My biggest fear is that Landry inherits the same characteristics as his father.  I try so hard to show Landry my boundaries and help my child set-up those boundaries not just with his father, but with me and in life.  My parenting is purposeful and while I may miss out on some things, when Landry “gets something” or sets an appropriate boundary with me, then I know everything I am doing is worth it.

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Life after a narcissist and co-parenting

I have taken a few months off to reset myself to recharge if you will.  I have watched so much happen in the last few years and am starting to really process it all.  I never thought that my life would end up this way, but I am not looking back either.  I am forever changed by being involved and married to a narcissist and not being able to walk away.  Being bound to an abusive man even after divorcing.  Co-parenting with a narcissist has left this desire in me to be a better mother, but no longer the perfect mother.

I once wanted Landry to grow up with the perfect family where everything had its place, but now I realize that was a fairy tale.  I want Landry to grow up experiencing diversity, but not the kind of abuse I endured.  She already saw enough abuse.  I want Landry to learn what it truly means to be loved and fully love back and enjoy being with someone.  That success is not measured by the house you live in or the career you choose, but by your happiness and compassion.

One of my biggest fears is no longer the bully that reigned over me, but the bully that has the potential to do what happened to him.  That his weakness is exposed to our daughter and that she learns that same weakness.  To not be able to love or feel appropriate emotions and to intentionally hurt someone.  Today my parenting style is even more intentional than before.

Instead of telling Landry right from wrong, I am intentionally leading my child to decipher right from wrong.  I allow my child to use her own critical thinking skills and develop her own thoughts and opinions.  I am there to love her and pick her up if she chooses the wrong decision.  I am there to help her understand and process her wrong decision if she needs to.

I teach her to be spontaneous with purpose, enjoy the little things and most importantly fill her bucket by filling others.  The bucket books were instrumental to help her understand what her father cannot teach her.  She has seen that she can make a difference in this large world and one man’s love or lack of love will not define her.  My parenting has become purposeful and intentional.  I am not perfect and I admit to her when my flaws show through that she can understand that she does not have to be perfect.

Parenting this way can is very tiring especially when the other parent makes it so difficult, but in the end I know this is what she needs.  She needs to help process what she already knows is right or wrong because her dad can’t help her do that.  As exhausting as it is,  I know that I am getting through to her when she apologizes on her own accord.  Not just an I’m sorry 2 minutes after the event, but a heartfelt apology saying what she did wrong and that it wasn’t okay what she did and most importantly an apology initiated by her.

Every time that happens, I am so taken back and reassured.  Reassured for the time being that I know that she is getting this thing called life and love even with a parent in her life that can’t love.  I know that when she fills someone else’s bucket and is so happy about it and smiling ear to ear that she can love others and for the time being my heart is happy because I know she is becoming her own self capable of love and appropriate emotions.


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#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou #MaybeHeDoesntDeserveYou

A powerful campaign has been around for awhile #maybehedoesnthityou.  Women are tweeting how their intimate partner emotionally abuses them and it is making more aware of the dangers behind emotional abuse.  I think it extends far past just men and can and should include women #MaybeSheDoesntHitYou.  Being a domestic violence survivor of emotional, verbal, physical and sexual abuse has shaped me to become who I am today, but it does not define me.

#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he tells you that you are fat and your BMI is only 19.

#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he controls your joint money and tells you you don’t work hard enough or you are working to hard and need to spend more time with him.

#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he engages in domestic violence by proxy with your child.

#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he blames you for having an affair and makes you feel responsible for the affair that he was actually caught in.

#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he berates you in front of your child because the bed wasn’t made even though he was the last one to get up.

#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he tells you that you can’t pursue your dreams and you aren’t good in business.

#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he won’t let you see your family members and makes you feel guilty for wanting to and not spending your family time together.

#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he makes you feel that those sexual assaults and rapes were your fault because you didn’t give him what he needed.

#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou and #MaybeHeDoesntDeserveYou

#MaybeHeDoesntDeserveYou because you are an amazing person who has been taken to hell and back by him.

#MaybeHeDoesntDeserveYou because you have so much to offer this world and he is so jealous that he is only holding you back.

#MaybeHeDoesntDeserveYou because you are an amazing parent and you want to raise your child in a toxic free environment.

#MaybeHeDoesntDeserveYou because you will be able to find a way out from underneath his grip and your will become that butterfly who flies with grace and finds herself.

#MaybeHeDoesntDeserveYou because he only deserves himself.

#MaybeHeDoesntDeserveYou because your are awesome and he doesn’t deserve to be a part of your life.

#MaybeHeDoesntDeserveYou because you are beautiful inside and out.

Empower yourself and let yourself be heard.  Intimate partner violence is no laughing matter and can do years of psychological harm to you and your children.   #MaybeHeDoesntDeserveYou.


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