This is inspired by Survivor’s post, when she had a realization her ex was a narcissist and she left him five years later after trying to hold on for the children.
How many of us do that? The intention is good, even noble. But is it really better for the children? I hear this over and over. I’ve done it. Only I didn’t get out after five years. My two oldest lived a major part of their childhood under the influence of my narcissistic partner. I didn’t leave until after they had both graduated from high school. My youngest with the ex was just entering school age.
None of them escaped unscathed. But there’s a difference. My youngest still has to contend with the N, but she has a safe place to go. My oldest two didn’t. The youngest will have issues to deal with BUT she has more of herself. I fear for one of my oldest.
In holding on for our children, I guess the question would be just what is it are we holding on to?
What’s the reality of it? How much we are fighting for is real and how much is fantasy – of what it could be, should be if only…we did this or that or…would be if he just hadn’t had a bad day, a relapse in judgment…?
You know, we read about Don Quixote fighting windmills thinking they’re dragons. Well, what about protecting a pile of manure thinking it’s gold?
I’m not talking about just getting bored here or growing apart or personality differences. I’m not supporting throw-away relationships and I don’t believe in disposable relationships. Yes, there is a commitment when you enter into life long relationships. Yes, you shouldn’t just think about yourself when you have children. If you can make it work, then make it work.
What we’re talking about are the really abusive, insidiously manipulative, crazy-making narcissistic relationships. When the agenda of your partner isn’t creating a relationship, a family, a home, but consuming them.
With the exception of getting a beautiful daughter out of the deal, it was a huge mistake with life long consequences on my two oldest to stay with this man. If I had been smart like Survivor, and left even after five years, I would have escaped with still two very young adolescents and a beautiful baby. And that time would have been significant.
Children learn through what is modeled for them. Yes, some kids have the wherewithal to learn other behavior, to consciously choose to do differently, but it’s a HUGE burden you place on them. And you’re taking a big chance with their lives.
How many people can identify with the “I’ll never do that when I grow up…” assertion, and find themselves imitating their parents to the letter? And these aren’t even destructive behaviors, just mannerisms, odd habits, using the same tone of voice when scolding or giving the same lectures.
Then how much more with the abusive dynamics and emotional trauma of being with a narcissistic person – an adult, your parent or parent figure who is suppose to take care of you but is an emotional bully, monster, parasite, user?
Do you really want to sit back years from now and see those same narcissistic traits unfold in your beautiful children? Or watch them struggle as they walk in your same footsteps and pick losers and abusers to put them through what you went through?
Not a given they will. They could deal with their wounds and overcome them with empowerment. But do you want them to have to expend the time and energy to overcome, when they could be using that energy for other things?
Look at that beautiful child full in the face, look deep into his or her eyes, and tell that beautiful soul that they’re worth the gamble, that you’re willing to take that gamble with their lives, their happiness for Mr or Ms Narcissist.
If you’re going to hold on to something make sure it’s worth it.