Dealing with the girlfriend

So she started off sweet. My daughter really liked her. Her dad’s girlfriend was nice she said. Most important, she took the heat off her. My daughter didn’t dread so much having to go to her dad’s.

I was happy for my dd, happy for me. With him getting his supply elsewhere, it made things a little easier for me. Most of all, I was happy that there was someone else to take pressure off of my dd.

But I did tell her, no matter how nice the girlfriend was, to make sure she not share any of her real feelings about her dad with Girlfriend. I told her as nice as this Girlfriend might be to her, Girlfriend’s main relationship was not with DD. It was with her N-dad. Girlfriend’s priority was to her relationship with DD’s father and her own needs.

She would not hesitate – either innocently or self-servingly – to divulge any secrets DD told her, especially those that did not flatter DD’s father, to N-Dad. Because of what her father is like and what he is, I advised DD to exercise caution in what she confided about her father to Girlfriend.

Whether this telling arose out of misguided loyalty or conniving tattling, the end result would be the same. DD would have to face the consequences from her N-Dad.

This is not a normal situation where a concerned parent might use such information to open lines of communication, to resolve any misunderstanding. A narcissist finding out their child is speaking ill of them to another is a fearsome and frightening sight. It is a punishing experience I would spare any child.

DD wholeheartedly agree. She had already sensed it was not safe to do that. It was okay, she said. She knew she could always talk to me about problems she had with N-Dad.

Over time, DD began to see sides to Girlfriend that concerned her. She saw signs that Girlfriend was not above tattling on her or getting strokes from N-Dad at her expense. But something happened recently that made DD really realize what she’s dealing with with Girlfriend. This past weekend Girlfriend not only got DD in trouble with N-Dad, by telling N-Dad DD had done something disrespectful to Girlfriend, when DD hadn’t, but DD actually saw Girlfriend standing there smiling, while N-Dad yelled at DD for it.

She said it made her blood turn cold.

I was not surprised. I saw this other side of Girlfriend earlier, saw pieces of her real character or lack of it, in other situations. I knew this would happen to DD. But I had to let DD find out for herself. It was only a matter of time, and that time happened.

DD is getting older. She’s beautiful. That, in and of itself, can cause problems with an insecure woman. And if you weren’t insecure before you became involved with a narcissist, you will be. Desperate people do desperate things. Now, I’m not blaming everything on N. Girlfriend has to take some responsibility for her choices and behavior, too. But, even with the most integrity filled person, if you’re involved with an N, you will become desperate, especially for validation – even if it’s at the expense of others…like a child.

N-Dad chewing out DD for Girlfriend was a feast for Girlfriend, a fleeting piece of proof that N loves her, cares about her. Made her feel special. Gave her a sense of vindication.

She won’t stop there. She’ll want more.

She’s an abuser, too.

DD was upset, angry. I said don’t waste your time holding a grudge towards Girlfriend. Be angry, because that’s real. Speak it, because you need to. Release it, because you deserve to. But know that N-Dad will more than punish her – maybe not for DD’s sake, certainly for his own gratification and his own reasons, but being with N-Dad is its own punishment. Girlfriend will get more than what she dishes out to DD.

I told DD just be mindful of herself when with those two. And know that she doesn’t have to stay there forever. It’s Girlfriend who is trapped in this game. DD already has one foot out the door, because she has self-awareness.

Yeah, it gets me mad. But that’s what she has to deal with. And she knows when she’s with me, she can be with real people who truly love and respect her. She can be safe. She can know the difference. And she can make a better choice for herself when she’s a woman, than I did.

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4 Responses to Dealing with the girlfriend

  1. Leigh says:

    I’m not entirely sure where to post so I thought I would leave a comment on this posting. I’m new to this site and after searching and searching, I finally found something that pertained to me and my daughter. Everything I read talks about getting the narcissist out of your life, but when you have a child with one, that’s not really possible. Her father has a Master’s degree in Psychology, and he is an expert at using that as his weapon, in the most subtle, but confusing and mind altering ways, twisting and exaggerating bits of information to fuel his attacks. He justifies his behavior by all kinds of twisted logic. I have been so anxious to find a resource such as this site to help my daughter and myself retain our strength, indentities, and groundedness.

    My daughter is with me full time, but he can call her or see her whenever he wants..(this was my compromise, since we had a 50/50 arrangement a few years back that was unbearable for her.) This is much better as we can set some limits on the behavior, but still…I’m so exhausted…from trying to hold on to myself when I come up against him, from trying to compensate as a parent and undo what he does to her, from trying to find ways to keep him calm. Anyay, I realize the work has to be mine…I have to find the way for myself and my daughter because he won’t change. Thank you for doing this, for being here. I am relieved to find others who are coping with the same situations…and are (dare i say?) thriving.

  2. PhoenixRising says:

    Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes! I would gladly have no contact. If I never saw him again for the rest of my days, I would be perfectly happy!

    I don’t wish him ill. I would not waste the energy it entails to seek or desire revenge. I just want him out of my life. I want freedom from the toxic energy, the mind games, the crap he dishes out and having to deal with the effect his stories and manipulations has on how other people see and treat me…and even more so now, his own daughter.

    Yes, others are starting to pass judgment on her too now, because N-Dad needs his justifications.

    Granted these people are few, so we’re lucky in that way.

    But the pain he causes my child, and the headaches he gives me…yes, I would love to have no contact.

    But as you so succinctly put it,

    Everything I read talks about getting the narcissist out of your life, but when you have a child with one, that’s not really possible.

    No, it’s not. Unless it’s to his advantage to disappear.

    And so here we are. I salute you, dear, for your strength, for the exhaustion you feel which reflects the determination you have to protect your child, to maintain some kind of balance.

    It’s fantastic you have full custody of her, but really stinks he can see her, have her whenever he wants. Is that frequent?

    And too bad he has all the jargon and intellectual knowledge to twist and turn to his advantage. It must take SO much effort to keep your equilibrium around him!

    It’s hard for my daughter to have to go into that situation, but I keep reminding her of what she has here – of a place in her life where she can be real, when she can be herself.

    It’s a very hard road to walk, a very narrow ledge to keep balance and not fall. I am filled with awe when I see my own child fighting for her dignity, to maintain her humanity.

    Because it’s hard.

    I’m not sure if we’re thriving, but it is getting better. So glad you’re here, Leigh. We all need each other. Connecting with others is really what keeps me sane. Even if it’s only through the internet.

    A voice of reason and truth, no matter how soft, in the midst of chaotic madness is a life preserver!

  3. Leigh says:

    Thank you so much PhoenixRising. I actually got a little tearful (sweet relief) reading your email. It is so wonderful to have others who understand because the rest of the world doesn’t see who the Narcissist is and what he is doing. He so easily sucks them into his world.

    I understand exactly what you mean. How the stories and manipulations they use on others in regards to you and your child, impact the way others see and treat you. I deal with the same…as a psychology teacher, he is surrounded by admiring students (his N supply?) and mine and my daughters “sins” against him are a frequent topic of conversation.

    I also understand what you mean when you say how wonderful it is to see your daughter fight to maintain her humanity. My daughter, at age 12, is finally coming to understand the unpredictability and manipulations of her father. In many ways, she shows more strength to fight him than I do…She will simply yell that he is being mean and he needs to leave her alone now. She has a sense of humor about it now, and says he will eventually stop when she does this, although it never changes in the long run. She now seems to understand and accept that he will never change…that these are his personal limitations that she has to live with. I work especially hard to let her be who she is at home…to shine, to express herself, to grow and experiment and challenge her own limits, while all the time keeping her safe.

    In many ways, she is controlling the amount of contact she has with her dad. That’s great. If she doesn’t want to see him, I support and protect her…if she does, I support and protect her…and sometimes mend her…but even the mending seems less necessary lately. Some shift has occured for her, in which she does maintain her sense of her Okness, her equilibrium and confidence in the face of his manipulative assaults. I still however, have to work hard at it, and it usually takes me a few hours to a day to find my footing after a particularly demeaning, mind messing (but oh so subtle) attack.

    Anyway…thank you for reaching out to me with your wonderful response and for creating this safe horbor for those of us who are dealing with such a tumultuous relationship.

  4. PhoenixRising says:

    …he is surrounded by admiring students (his N supply?)and mine and my daughters “sins” against him are a frequent topic of conversation.

    You *and* your daughter’s sins? He talks badly about his little girl to his students? Disgusting.

    You know, I’ve found that more people really do see through to a narcissist than we think. And often, N’s will adopt new people as friends so they can fool them for a while, and then trade them in for new unaware people, when others start to see through. But then there are people who never see.

    Having students who come and go according to changes of semesters must be really nice for the N professor!

    Sounds like your daughter is doing really great. You can be proud of yourself. How different things would be if you weren’t there to validate her and help her through the rough times!

    I think it’s fantastic she can stand up to him and call his actions for what they are. My dd will do this, when she can…also intentionally aggravate him, push his buttons or put him on the spot – sometimes in the presence of others. It’s a delicate line she walks, but she really gets a great sense of satisfaction when she makes him squirm.

    It’s interesting.

    I wish my dd could choose how much she will see her father. Fortunately, I do have her more often than he, but sometimes even going over for one night is too much for her. She is counting the days when she gets older and has more say in where and with whom she will stay.

    Me too.

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