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.
- 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.