Set up…and other war stories

So what’s your “favorite” manipulation or crazy-making incident or outrageous behavior you’d like to enter for the records?

This isn’t my favorite, but it is a biggie for me, the anger of which has taken longer for me to heal. It’s not the lies or the cheating or even the “run of the mill” verbal and emotional abuse.

It’s being set up.

Do you know what I mean?

It goes like this…

You go to him…after making sure it’s the right time, the right place, he’s in a good mood (but not too good, because you don’t want to ruin it), he’s not in a bad mood (because how can you burden him with another negative thing?), it’s the right season, temperature, day of the week and all the stars are lined up just so, and of course, there’s nothing else more important happening like a night out with the guys, a card game or his night to clip his toe nails.

You get the picture.

And so you approach him and ask him about something that is bothering you, because of signs, or what you might have heard, in this case his infidelity, and you don’t accuse him (you make sure he understands it’s just for clarification) and you make sure you use all “I” sentences, and the tone of your voice is soft with no edge, and you might preface it with how wonderful he’s been and how happy you are…but at any rate, you finally get the words out and…

He’s actually nice about it!

RELIEF!

He answers your inquiry, and tells you, in fact, that he’s glad…yes, glad that you came to him, because he got to straighten it out, and what’s more, he wants you to come to him again if you ever hear anything else, so he can have the opportunity to straighten out any misunderstanding.

And you are SO relieved, not only that your worst fears were laid to rest, but GOD, do you have the best boyfriend/lover/husband in the world or what?!?!

So life is perfect, until things start to not quite add up gain, or maybe another rumor comes to you, but you have Mr. Wonderful in your life, and he said he wanted you to come to him if you ever heard anything again or had any doubts.

And so like a stupid idiot…no, like a good and trusting soul, you do…just as he asked you to, and before you even know what hits you, your guts are splayed all across the wall, because he’s so tired of you bringing this shit up, and why do you keep putting him through the wringer??? And does he have to hear about this for the rest of his life???

And he’s saying this to you in an outrage, and his face is red and he’s screaming, and you’re crying, and confused and hurt and angry, but mostly confused and totally disoriented.

And you try to figure out what you did wrong or how he might misunderstand your intentions. You can’t imagine he’s totally manipulating and consciously choosing to abuse you for doing what he knows he asked you to do, because you can’t comprehend that kind of narcissism nor can you see the personality disorder behind what you and he need you to see.

If it was just cheating, it would barely be a memory these days. I haven’t given a rat’s ass about that in ages. But it’s not about the cheating. It’s about the set up, and the punishment that followed.

And that’s the barbed wire the flesh of my being is still hung on.

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48 Responses to Set up…and other war stories

  1. freedomseeker says:

    Hi Phoenxirising,

    I have not read your story your as yet. I joined last night and yeah they do love to play you don’t they?

    So (and please acknowlegdge that I haven’t read your story and that I am still a little drunk right now) why are you still with this guy?

    I have been reading down the list of stories and one thing is clear – we all have our heads and hearts done in by all of this.

    If you are still there for ‘the children’. Well I understand.

    Of course there may be other reasons but are they worth it? You have provided a lot of support to others in your situation. You to deserve love and support.

    I joined this blog only last night and I’m too tired to tell my story at present. Plus I have and affidavit due in on Thursday plus a family report that may as well have been written by my daughter’s dad himself.

    My ex husband/narcissist is actually a family therapist for a very official family service. He showed my daughter pornography. She only trusts me and won’t tell anybody else. I can’t push her to tell and right now I am in hell.

    But so too are you. Reading your stuff here tonight makes me remember:

    The minimising, the blaming and turning it all back onto you.

    But hey! Serisously his cheating is a reflection on him – not you. It was about his gratification not any signs of problems in the parntership/marriage which is the normal event of these things.

    If you have joined this web site you have in fact seen the light and right here and right now remind yourself – it is not your fault. This is not a reflection on you what so ever!

    I hope that you build up enough self-esteem ASAP to move forward and leave! I will search through after wrinting my affidavit for more about you and your story in this site.

    Hopefully in the next week I to will share mine. Remember sister – none of this is your fault! However healing from this shit does rest solely on each of our sholuders ( with of course a lot of love and support),
    Lots of Love and Hugs,
    Freedomseeker.

  2. PhoenixRising says:

    Hi Freedomseeker, and welcome! And thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and support. I feel your compassion and really appreciate it.

    I am no longer in that relationship. Left a good number of years ago, although it took me over ten years to finally see the light…and escape.

    I feel so bad for you! While it’s not uncommon for narcissists to hold such positions – therapists, attorneys, doctors, ministers, etc…it’s horrifying to hear someone tell you that’s their personal experience. Actually, my dad – narcissist number one and pedophile was a cop, so what can you do?

    My ex hasn’t shown our children pornography as such, BUT he has shown them incredibly inappropriate movies that were way too sexual, violent – sexual and otherwise – perverse and terrifying to a child. And when she complained and I addressed it, he got angry and told me she was just faking it and had actually liked it.

    Is that sick or what?

    Anyway, I welcome you to this blog and am wishing you not only good luck but a fantastic turn of events for your child and you. She’s lucky to have you in your life. You make all the difference.

    Look forward to hearing from you again when you have time, and in the meantime will be sending you lots of positive energy!

    PhoenixRising

  3. Survivor says:

    Phoenix Rising,

    Your initial post hits home. Maybe you were married to my ex also. πŸ™‚ I have a story that is like yours but I did something funny about it. It was one of my rare moments that I empowered myself. When I was living with the exNPD, he would have porn from the internet saved on his computer. He had an obsession about it. I even stubbled on his Eharmony account. Of course, when I confronted him, he would discount everything or minimize what he was doing. I would erase the porn when I found it because the children also used the computer. Well, one night while he was at choir rehearsal directing his church choir, I found more pictures. Instead of erasing them, I substituted pictures of his mother for each one of them. One day he was angry with me so I figured he had noticed the pictures. It was worth every bit of the discord though. I still think back at that moment and laugh at what was going through his head when he wanted to see naked pictures and saw his mother instead.

  4. mydaughtershero says:

    Hi Survivor,
    I love your revenge story! It made me smile. I was never brave enough to “get even” while I was married to my daughter’s father….but now that I am away from him and feel safer I enjoy getting any little victory I can. Here’s one story I love…I am a teacher at my daughter’s school so she comes to my classroom after school. Once in a while we have an early release where school is out at 1:00. This particular early release fell on her dad’s visitation day. Since the 1:00 release was posted on the school’s reader board and he loves to stand out there and tell his victim story about how horrible my new fiance is to anyone who will listen, I figured he should know about it. (But secretly hoped he didn’t!) When 1:00 came along my daughter came to me and said “I hope Dad doesn’t know it’s early release!” For two hours she played and we snickered that he forgot her. At 3:00 when he showed up to get her he was indignant that I didn’t tell him he could have gotten her earier. It felt so good to say “Well, it’s on the reader board”. Oh, how I would have loved to see his face as he pulled into an empty parking lot…no busses, no kids and parents milling around. Punked!!!
    We have to enjoy our tiny victories with these NPD jerks and not take their crap too seriously.
    Good luck with your journey back to normal πŸ™‚

  5. PhoenixRising says:

    You know, Survivor, I think we were all married to each others’ Ex’s! It’s amazing how carbon copy this personality disorder can be. That’s what makes sharing our stories so important. The N’s make us feel alone, but we realize very quickly we are not, and that as crazy-making as their behavior is, there are actually people who do understand!

    And thanks for the uproariously funny story of the switcheroo! πŸ˜€ I loved it!!

    And you know, mydaughtershero, sometimes just expecting them to be responsible or accountable for their actions…like expecting him to read the information that’s available for every parent, instead of checking up after him to make sure he’s up to speed can be a great affront to an N. Because after all, it is your job to make sure he’s taken care of.

    Good for you for refusing to mommy him!

    And yes, sometimes, we just need to let ourselves enjoy a little humor. We certainly paid for it!

    Thanks for the smiles. Hope everyone has a weekend filled with joyful laughter. πŸ™‚

  6. Rae says:

    So true, Phoenix. The set up is always just around the corner. Waiting to trap you for answering a leading question. Honestly, if your N asks you anything, you are probably being set up. The N doesn’t care about you; it only cares what it can take from you.

    But we crave it, don’t we? That conflict-free conversation. That moment of peace. That five seconds that managed to pass without a pot shot. We crave it and we get sucked in. Maybe this time, if I don’t upset him, he’ll behave. Maybe this time…

    But they’re always setting us up. There is no hope. We have to survive, but we’ll never, ever be allowed to thrive.

  7. mynewlife2010 says:

    Rae, you are so right..the set up is ALWAYS immenent. No matter what the circumstance, subject matter, time of day, whatever. The set up is paramount in the N’s life. Because their lives are largely empty without this focus. They don’t love themselves and have no idea what that even means. Their emotional development is so basic that winning and losing is all they can manage. The narcissistic injury they must have suffered as children has literally stunted their emotional growth rendered their emotional intellect irretrievabley lost. They are emotional children walking around in adult bodies. Really scary if you think about the potential implications. My ex-N harbors this perpetually underlying seething anger because after a year long, exhausting custody battle, the court awarded me sole legal custody of our 2 children. His ego will never recover. His entire life is now commited to proving that I am an unfit parent. But I can’t concern myself with his constant plots and schemes and “set ups”. I have learned over these last 2 killer years (while our divorce was in process) that I must be true to who I am. And as long as I can maintain my integrity and not be someone different than who I really am, I and my children will be fine. You can’t protect yourself from the set up, I’ve come to realize it’s virtually impossible, but as long as I remain myself I can’t go wrong. That along with recognizing that we must never share or volunteer any information about our lives, outside what’s necessary to share about the kids, keeps me sane. I never speak to him unless it’s about our kids and only if I absolutely have to. I like email, everything documented and no tone of voice to have to deal with. Or that stupid expression the N’s always have. There is no hope of thriving with the N, but you can absolutely thrive in life outside of the N. Living a good life is the best revenge. And I love it when my ex-N tells me to “get a life”, because I know he’s saying it because subconsiously he knows he doesn’t have a life! Hang in there all who have posted on this site! My prayers are with every one of you. We all will survive..and thrive!

  8. Survivor says:

    mynewlife2010,

    Thanks for sharing. You brought up some good points. Yes, there is always a set up. I am getting better at recognizing them but I get trapped every once in awhile. The winner/loser comment is so true and of course they always have to be the winner. My therapist told me this joke. She said when you married him, you thought you were marrying Mr. Right. You didn’t realize his first name was Always. The most important comment you made was living a good life. I think that is the best thing we can all do for ourselves. I know not everyone could do this but living 1000 miles away from the exNPD has given me a much better quality of life and the opportunity to start over with a very loving nonNPD husband.
    For a long time, I never thought I would be able to have a normal life.

  9. strongwoman2011 says:

    All of you are inspiring and resilent women! I thought it was me. I am not pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough. Yesterday, my ex came over to visit our son. I told him that I have a friend visiting and to come after 630. He shows up early, decked out and covered in cologne. He is playing the “devoted dad” What an actor! He is so starved for attention and taking pictures of our son,playing “cute” admiration that he is trying to impress my friend. Asking her questions, laughing and playing with the baby Blegh! She knows all about ExNarc and rolled her eyes. Once his audience was gone. He was busy texting. Left a short while later. His need for attention outweighs everything, even his own son. Next time, I won’t tell him the time. He will manipulate anyways

  10. Learning2Swim says:

    Ahh, yes, the Set up…

    I do get set up by her, as you describe here, but I also find that I set myself up in a similar way… I come to expect her shenanigans at every corner, that everything is a set-up. But sometimes she wasn’t trying to goad me, sometimes she wasn’t trying to manipulate me, sometimes she (or I) really misunderstood. Then, even if the only accusations I made of her ill-will were in my own head and never shared the thought with anyone else… I find myself feeling guilty that I had jumped to a conclusion. So I start thinking that she’s on the up-and-up and I let my guard down… BAM! Oh yah, THAT’s why I’m so suspicious of everything she does and says! And the cycle continues.

  11. Rae says:

    My therapist gave me one of those zingers, too. She said that I will always belong to him in his own mind and my only breaks from his behavior will come when he has new relationships to distract him. And, when those women wise up and run, he will take it out on me.

    Learning2Swim, the first thing you have to learn with a narcissist is to never let your guard down. I’ve done it so many times and I have so many scars to show for it. The second you start to feel like, maybe this tim (s)he’s being honest/changing/etc, you need an alarm bell to go off in your head and remind you that everying is about the N, including whatever little farce you’re being lured into.

    It’s a terrible way to live, but it’s the life we all have.

  12. strongwoman2011 says:

    I have to remind myself of this every time I communicate with him. I feel like I am being manipulated all of the time. He is trying to illicit sympathy. He comes over to help me with the baby. Whines about how tired he is, his job, blah blah. Last night he wasn’t too tired to rock out at a concert. Then he lays down. He isn’t helping but I don’t want to deny him access to his son. He is Mr.Critical. Asking me why I don’t have my ice cube trays filled, why my bathroom is messy. I just had a baby and I am on my own! I am so angry and frustrated. I know that I have to be more assertive. I am drained physically and emotionaly and don’t have the energy to stand up for myself. I feel like I am failing myself and my son by not standing up to him.

  13. Rae says:

    It’s a tough position to be in. My XN came over frequently after we separated “to be with the kids.” He still ignored and emotionally abused them and he criticized me for every little thing. He also took over my television and left his trash lying around, then expected marital rewards before leaving.

    It’s taken baby steps to get the tiny little bit of control that I have over my own life. And, him being an N, there’s been punishment all along the way. I’ve learned 3 things: Do not ever allow him into the home, Do not trust civil behavior, & Do not say anything that will upset him until *after* visitation is over. He has absolutely no qualms about taking things out on the kids.

    Your XN has no interest in that baby beyond how he can be used to manipulate and control you. Mine was playing the interested daddy when he first left and used the helping lines to weasel his way into the house. I felt the same guilt that puts you into that position.

    One night, my youngest was sick. I was texting him all night with updates. When he finally got around to responding (hours after it started), he gave me the same phony offer of help he had been. I gave him a list of things to buy from the drugstore and told him to be at my house ASAP. He was trapped. He lollygagged as much as he could thinking I’d send him a nevermind message. Instead, I asked him what was taking so long.

    My little one was getting better by the time he showed up. I provided him with the sick child, a couch, and instructions. I told him to wake me if X or Y happened, otherwise leave me alone, and went to bed.

    They passed out right after I did and he got to sleep through the morning while I was up at my regular time to handle my regular responsibilities. He tried desperately to get recognized for his efforts, both by me and social media contacts.

    Meanwhile, he has never offered to help since. He didn’t believe I’d actually take him up on it and is not going to risk actually having to parent ever again.

    Moral of the story: You want your ex to quit using your baby as an excuse to manipulate you – hand him bottles, a diaper bag, and the car seat next time he comes over. “I’m glad you’re here. Some alone time is just what the two of you need to bond. His nap time is X. Be back by then.” Then go take a nap.

    It’s a gamble and it’ll be hard to do, but I bet you’ll only have to do it once or twice.

  14. mydaughtershero says:

    StrongWoman2011 – I want you to know I think about you all the time. You are amazing in the fact that you had the strength to walk away from an abusive man and that you are raising a brand new baby alone. Although my exN was of absolutley no emotional support I could ocassionally get a bottle warmed up or a wet diaper changed (God forbid it was poopy though – he refused to change those!) I can’t imagine how exhausted you must feel! I agree with Rae that he should NOT be in your home. If possible he should be taking the baby with him for an hour or so, or at least the three of you meet at a neutral place. Some good boundaries will help you not feel vulnerable to his laziness and criticisms. It is a slow process but you will have many small victories that eventually make you feel like you’ve gotten your life (mostly) back together! God bless you!

  15. strongwoman2011 says:

    Thanks, It would give me time to run errands without the baby. I can’t be worried about ice cube trays with a newborn! I know I will be immune to his criticisms. In this moment, I feel humiliated. You are right mydaughtershero, he is not emotionally supportive. I am supposed to be Superwoman, keep a clean house, while looking after a 5 week old 24/7! He had the audacity to ask if I had enough to feed him for
    supper! I ask him to pick up juice the response is ” I am on my motorcycle” I am supposed to feed him supper but he can’t pick up juice! He brought a small container and I am surprised he didn’t ask to be reimbursed the $2.99. Thank you for the support. I will leave him with the baby and go out or get some much needed sleep. I will let you know how it goes.

  16. PhoenixRising says:

    Those three suggestions are great, Rae. I’ve learned to be careful of what I say, and a lot of it depends on whether my child is going to be with him or stay with me. If I know she’s going to head out the door, I exercise restraint. If she’s staying with me, and I feel I need to, I can be more forthright in what I say so she doesn’t pay for it.

    However, I have come to realize that in most cases a non-response is usually the best response.

    And I don’t let the EX into my home either except when necessary to unload some of my daughter’s things into the foyer. Never do I invite him to come in and sit OR let him invite himself in. Whatever time he needs to spend with her he can do when he has her – not on my time or in my space.

    It will be hard, strongwoman. Give yourself the time you need to acclimate to these changes. Draw the line, but don’t use it as a whip to flagellate yourself if you fall short.

    N’s are manipulators, and what they manipulate the most is your goodwill and good intentions. That they use you is not a reflection of your weakness but their lack of integrity. So be gentle with yourself. Pay attention to what you feel, and when you’re sensing he’s pushing you then address it the best you can. Take mental notes, and learn from your experiences. Decide ahead of time how you will deal with different scenarios. That will make it easier for you. But remember, N’s are great at throwing you for a loop, so don’t be upset with yourself if you become disoriented and don’t act in the way you later wish you had.

    It’s a learning experience, and you are already doing great. It will get better! You will respond with greater empowerment in the time and in the way that is best for you. πŸ™‚

  17. PhoenixRising says:

    Learning2Swim, you know what really sucks? All that thinking and double thinking and empathy and consideration and feeling bad for inadvertently suspecting someone when it’s the one of few times they’re actually telling the truth or being truthful…that stuff is only going on you. With a N, they never suffer inside with conflicting thoughts and feelings concerned about whether they’re being fair with you or not.

    All these years, over a decade the inner dialogue I was having within myself fretting over whether he was concerned or worried or confused over any part of his relationship with me was for nothing. Not only was he clueless, but he didn’t give a damn when he did know.

    Those times I was anguishing about us, he was out having a great time and creating memories with other people. The only time he was truly concerned about me was when he thought his good set up might not be there when he needed.

  18. Survivor says:

    There are so many good comments. One that I saw said something about not responding sometimes is the best thing. It is and does not engage you in another manipulative conversation. They get a high over these conversations and it charges them up. I refuse to do anything to make him feel high and mighty. Another thing is that I keep it business. I only engage in conversations that involve the kids’ location, education or health issues. No personal discussions with him. If he tries, I don’t respond, dismiss it, change subject, etc. It will be information used to manipulate things in the future. The more I can disengage, the happier I seem to be.

  19. strongwoman2011 says:

    Hi Everyone, thanks for the support. ExNarc has been helping to care for our infant son. I use “helping” loosely. I have asked him to take the baby for a walk so I can have alone time. This is also to avoid having exNarc in my house. At first he was open to the idea and took the baby for a walk. Last night he didn’t want to take the baby for a walk and I felt I had to leave to get sleep. I left my house to get some sleep at a friends( thankfully it is 2min away). I left him with the baby for four hours. It was difficult for me to be away from the baby. I also don’t trust exNarc because he had been pushing me to have his new girlfriend meet the baby. I had a weird feeling that she had been in my house. The woman he started sleeping with while I was 6 months pregnant. I am fiercly protective of my little boy and I don’t want him around any of his girlfriends
    .I can’t control what he does when he has our son and eventually I will have to deal with his many girlfriends.

    I don’t know how these women can agree to date someone that just had a baby with someone. How they can justify sleeping with a man that had a pregnant girlfriend!Do I have to meet these women? And discover other ways he deceived me? It still hurts.Our baby is with me 24/7.He will not be having overnights at Dads. We do not have a formal custody agreement. I know he would not want custody because it would interfere with his lifestly. Should I start the process for a formal agreement?

  20. Survivor says:

    You need a formal agreement to protect you and your son. He may not always be this agreeable. My custody agreement has saved me on several occasions. Make sure you consult with someone who knows the law and can bet everything in line before it is presented to him. It is so important to get all of your ducks in a row before presenting the situation.

  21. mydaughtershero says:

    Oh my goodness please, please, please get an attorney to write up a temporary parenting plan asap!! My exNPD was uninvolved and happy to let me have 99% of the responsibility for our daughter…..until I left him. Now he tries to be Mr. Super Dad. He takes her to amusement parks almost every weekend that he has her! And now that I am involved with a man my daughter loves, exNPD is determined to find fault with me and him and he’s hinting at the idea that I am causing Parental Alienation Syndrome. Thank God I have a signed parenting plan and an attorney who sees through the charade!! It has saved a lot of “negotiating” on visitations (which with an NPD is a joke….it’s their way or you are accused of being hateful and uncooperative)as we are now to the point of sticking to the parenting plan EXACTLY as it is written. Although your exNarc is “friendly” and helpful now – find an attorney who can help you plan for the worst. The more precise and detailed you can be in the parenting plan the more it will save you when he starts to show his true colors. So many of these jerks will try to gain custody of the children as a way to punish us for daring to leave them.

  22. Survivor says:

    Mydaughtershero,
    I think your ex must know my ex. I have had the exact thing happen to me. Without the custody agreement, my time with the children would be jeopardized. I still have to remind him of what is stated in the agreement when he attempts to bully. They can change their mood in a heartbeat.

  23. Rae says:

    I did it today!

    He tried to smooth talk me into something today. My gut was on alert and reminded me to reinforce boundaries. When I didn’t comply as expected, he told me that he was trying to do me a favor. I thought that it sure would be nice to get the tiny benefit I was expected to give up far more to obtain.

    Then his words hit me. He doesn’t do anything for me. Those are his words when he wants me to do something for him and I dare to disobey.

    He wants something and he’s too dishonest, too manipulative to just ask for it. That would give me some kind of standing, as a person or – heavens forbid – an equal. No, he wanted something and he wanted me to pay a premium to give it to him.

    The alarm bells went off in my head just in the knick of time.

    He wanted something from me, but he planned to manipulate me into thinking he was doing something for me.

    I was set up and I didn’t take the bait. I didn’t succumb to the pattern. I know most people wouldn’t understand why this is an accomplishment, but I am really proud of myself right now.

  24. Survivor says:

    Good for you for recognizing what was happening. It is a good step in getting your life back. πŸ™‚

  25. PhoenixRising says:

    “I was set up and I didn’t take the bait.”

    CONGRATULATIONS, RAE!!! That was really awesome. Keep it up. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip – it’s more of a spiral going forward kind of thing and not a straight line. But this is terrific and I’m really happy for you. πŸ™‚

  26. mydaughtershero says:

    Oh my word was I ever set up to be the bad guy few days ago! After exNPD attempted a schedule change in order to ruin our family vacation I reluctantly offered an extra day to ensure he would return our daughter in time to catch our flight. During this extra day he took her to a family party. That afternoon I recieved a call from my daughter asking me if she could stay one more night so she could go to an amusement park with some relatives. Of course I was stuck between being a “good mom” and saying “yes” and sticking to my guns and not letting him manipulate me through our daughter! When I told her I wanted her back at the regularly scheduled time she put two little relatives on the phone (who I have not been invited to see in years) to also beg me to let her stay. I could hear adults in the background but not one of them got on the phone and spoke to me. At this point my blood was boiling for being backed into a corner and for having to tell three little girls “No, she can’t stay, sorry I ruined your plans!”. To add to the sting – I got a lengthy text shortly after from my ex daughter-in-law begging me to let her stay since they “never get to see her”….”hmmmm, I never get to see your daughter either since you shut me out!” is what I wanted to say. How incredible that they cut me off the minute I left the marriage, they don’t acknowledge me in any way despite the fact I have done everything to keep my daughter’s relationship with them alive, and they have the nerve to try to make me feel guilty because I want my daughter back with me for my visitation! Apparently NPD runs deep in that family! The worst part, the part that scares me to the bone, is that my daughter was mad at me and blamed me for “ruining her fun”! Although her anger dissipated quickly and she seems to be back to normal -the quietly encroaching brainwashing he is planting in her scares me and I fear one day she will hate me because of his skills at setting me up to be the bad guy.

  27. Survivor says:

    Mydaughtershero,

    Been there, done that so many times and will be there again. I have been the bad person: with not having my boys finish their baseball seasons (even though the visitation is set, the boys don’t care, and I don’t have them a lot), if their plane is late for the flight to him, if I don’t follow his schedule when the kids are with me, the academic decline of the children over the summer (by the way, there is none). It goes on and on. I get ticked when I am made out to be the bad guy. The thing I am noticing is my kids are picking up on his behavior. They are noticing the inconsistencies with their father. They get upset when they don’t have more time with mom. They do not like many of his decisions and the way they are treated when he gets into that “mood.” I have heard others name it the “switch” (in behavior). Bottom line is that NPDs are sick people who act like jerks. Everything has to center around them and they will throw you under the bus especially when we have chosen not to be on their team anymore. I try not to let it bother me. When the kids are with me, I could care less about the tantrums.The kids are smart and know the situation better than I think they do. It is when they are with him, that the blows sting and I miss my kids. That will happen in a couple weeks and I am dreading it. I hope for the best and try not to let the idiot ruin my quality time. Sorry for the rant. I hope it helped. Sometimes venting makes things a little better.

  28. betteroffsd says:

    I am so glad I stumbled on to this blog. It is chilling how many of these stories I can relate to and I was only with my N for 6 years. N’s don’t seem to be that creative…whether it is shock and awe or diversion tactics through lies…it all boils down to using whatever abusive and/or manipulative strategies it takes to keep you on your toes and away from the truth of matters. I’ve been searching for advice on how to deal with raising my kids, two very young girls, with my ex-husband and most definitely a narcissist. I worry about how his manipulation, power and control issues will affect them and I want to be able to tactfully combat this so he doesn’t corrupt them, destroy their self esteem or hurt my relationship with them. The validation that I may be doing something that worked for one of you provides me with some relief. It is hard enough raising your kids in general but to have to worry about their dad’s questionable influence adds a certain je ne sais quois that I find extremely stressful. Currently I am just trying to keep my boundaries with him, not take his bait, stick by the rules set up in our divorce agreement and be the stable, balanced and emotionally-available one for my kids. But he is a relentless bull dog when it comes to getting his way and it is really draining but reading your stories help. Thank you all for sharing.

  29. PhoenixRising says:

    Hi bettersoffsd! Sorry it took me so long to approve your comment. Been away dealing with health issues…which I may add is another thing to be aware of when you’re in a relationship with a narcissist. Do not underestimate the toll it can take on your health!

    Anyway, let me say that your efforts to keep your boundaries, not take his bait and stick by what’s been agreed upon is wise and commendable…although not particularly easy as you so well expressed. πŸ™‚

    Narcissists are relentless…but they are not strong. They don’t have real strength. You do. Remember that. And as you grow stronger, so will your children.

    It’s not that they won’t be affected by their father. But it’s important to remember, that they will ALSO be affected by you. You are not insignificant.

    Sometimes, we forget that, especially when we are overwhelmed by the sickness that can be found within narcissists and their crazy-making dynamics.

    But keep on hanging in there, and some day you’ll discover you’re doing more than hanging in there – you and your kids will be soaring. πŸ™‚

  30. Survivor says:

    I am trying to avoid another bad situation. Two of my children called me this evening because of issues with their NPD father. Unfortunately, they have to live with him during the school year and escape to me only during the holidays and summer. The older son, in middle school, caught his father in one of his lies again. My oldest calls me up and says, “He thinks I am four years old and that I won’t figure things out. I am so annoyed with his crap.You know me mom, it must be bad if I used a bad word.” The middle kid calls me right after. He is in elementary school. He says, “I am so tired of his games. My dad lies all the time. I want you to call him and tell him to stop telling lies to me. I am not stupid. I know what he said and he is saying something different now.” You could tell he was just about in tears. Their father has been in one of his moods for about a week and a half from what I can tell from the kid conversations. I will gather information on the middle kid’s situation so I will have facts when I address the situation with his father tomorrow. I learned to gather the facts some time ago. I need to stick to “I messages” during the conversation also. The conversation will include the step parents’ participation so they are witnesses that will hold him accountable (at least on my end).My older kid is confronting him and seems fearless now but my middle kid is still very fearful. I will need to really calculate my conversation well to help my kids effectively. For everyone who thinks their kids won’t get the inappropriate behavior,I can tell you they see it for what it is. I just hate that I cannot protect them. I am grateful that they call me when situations happen so we can problem solve things, discuss what is reasonable to take ownership for, and what is someone else’s issue to own.

  31. Survivor says:

    http://www.thefastertimes.com/coparenting/2010/09/24/co-parenting-narcissism-and-emotional-abuse-of-children-during-after-divorce/

    Hopefully this link will work. It is a good article that my current nonNPD husband found. It is direct and to the point while still being informative. This is just a follow up to my previous post as I am trying to prepare for the next discussion. πŸ™‚

  32. mydaughtershero says:

    Good luck with the conversation. I find it pointless to try to reason with my exNPD. He twists words, calls my daughter a liar and insults me without ever comprehending my concern for her. Your boys are very lucky to have you and I can’t imagine your pain knowing the influence he has on them. It’s wonderful that you have been able to stay close to them. I would think most NPDs would try their hardest to brainwash their children as to how evil the other parent is. Good luck choosing your words wisely and sticking to I statements and trying not to call him all the bad names you really want to! I am thinking of your boys and all the kids who have to deal with parents who are more immature and selfish than any child ever was.

  33. Survivor says:

    Well, my ex bought off my middle son yesterday so he is feeling appreciated again. He was bought some clothing, etc. special just for him. He told me that he will know by Wednesday if it gets worse again or not. I can’t blame him. It is hard being 10 years old and dealing with a father like that. He still talked a long time on the phone with me saying that he feels normal when we talk. Unfortunately, he will have to deal with his father’s games for a long time. He is on the good side of it now but it will change. The million dollar question is when that will happen. Thank you for the support mydaughtershero.

  34. PhoenixRising says:

    Sorry to hear about this Survivor. I know how frustrating it is! As awful as this situation is, it is wonderful your boys are able to see what’s going on. To have that kind of awareness at such a young age is amazing, and they have you to thank for that. You validating their experiences is the best thing you can do.

    I’m not surprised your Ex was able to buy your son off. It’s what they do, and it’s normal for children to accept whatever “positive” message they can from their parent. However, your Ex’s ability to buy off his kids will diminish over time, as long as your children have examples for better behavior and validation of what’s real from another source…and they have you πŸ™‚

    As my own child gets older, she really does have her dad down. She’s, also, developed a thicker skin as it were, learning to not take his behavior to heart in the way she had before. Not that it doesn’t hurt her. It does. No parent playing mind games and engaging in emotional abuse can not harm their child, even as the child gets better at dealing with it.

    However, she has a place to go for healing, AND what’s more important, is that she is creating that place for healing within herself as well.

    It’s still a precarious situation. She’s an adolescent, and she’s still forming her view and outlook on life. She’s still vulnerable and impressionable, but she’s also becoming stronger.

    I have found that in my situation, even though it is best to use “I” statements, etc., it’s useless with the Ex. He will hear what he wants to hear, and he will explode to whatever perceived assault he feels is happening. He does not understand “I” communication. He cannot see it, because he cannot do it. He cannot separate behavior from inherent worth. So if you object to his behavior, you object to his right to live, his value as a human being.

    BUT I do find that out of respect for myself, it is best to use the most respecting form of communication I can. I do it for me. Not because I think it will make any difference with him. It doesn’t.

  35. mydaughtershero says:

    Boy have I been set up lately now that I have petitioned and gotten a guardian ad litem appointed as well as a psychiatric evaluation! He has had relatives who have cut me off suddenly contact me and try to get me to give them visiting time with my daughter – during my residential time! He has also made requests for extra visits with her which I turn down….if I have enough abuse and neglect to get a guardian ad litem how stupid am I to give him extra time?? Isn’t that just classic NPD “entitlement”??? He’s put my “turning down relatives requests” in his Response to Allegations and I am pretty sure I’ll be brought up on contempt charges for denying extra visits. This is a war! I know I am doing the right thing in trying to get his visits cut back or supervised but it’s draining and I worry sometimes if I should have just left good enough alone since I have primary custody….but then I think of my little girl coming home and telling me she wet the bed (again) and that her dad doesn’t wash her clothes and that he doesn’t talk to her and she lays on the couch all day depressed. Not to mention we are living in fear of a confrontation – or worse. We carry mace, have installed security systems and have changed email passwords….this is the hardest thing I have ever done but for the best reason. I hope we make it out with a safe child, a litte money left and no narcissistic rage turning ugly.

  36. Survivor says:

    I am sorry you have to go through that. I went through a similar battle with people having the same type of behaviors. I call it the battle of my life. It may get worse before it gets better. The important thing is to think of the end product which will benefit you and your daughter.Hang in there. I am sure everyone on the site will keep you in their thoughts.

  37. mydaughtershero says:

    Thanks for the kind words Survivor! I have an update. I hired a new attorney and he said that I should be able to get a restraining order against my exNPD and that we can get his visitations reduced to supervised….this could have all happened in June had my previous attorney given a sh-t. Thank God nothing happened (that I know of) to my daughter over the summer! It drives me insane she didn’t have to spend it with him except for a lazy attorney who didn’t want to drive to the court house for me! Oh well, like the fact that I spent 11 years with a jerk, I can’t think about this too much or I go insane. So it’s onward and upward, moving forward with a little more hope than a week ago.

  38. Survivor says:

    I’m glad you have an attorney that is listening. Your situation almost is a mirror of mine. It can make a world of difference. Good luck to you.

  39. strongwoman2011 says:

    Speaking of Attorneys… I am having a fight with my exNArc about having his girlfriend around my 5 month old. I think we should wait six months before having boyfriends/girlfriends around. I don’t trust his judgement. The last g/f had the audacity to almost demand to see my baby when he was just 3 weeks old! He has not respected my wishes and I fear my son will be paraded around different women. Is there anything I can do? Or do I continue to feel helpless. I suspect that he has already had one of them around my boy. I am so Frustated!!

  40. Survivor says:

    My current husband and I have had issues with the people that our exs associate with. Unless those people have done something criminal, we were told there was nothing we could do. The best bet is always to check with a legal expert as situations may vary from person to person. It can be a very frustrating experience when the only thing you want to do is to protect your child.

  41. Survivor says:

    Do you ever just know it is the calm before the storm? I do. It is almost time to see the kids and it will not be on my turf this time. I am in exNPD’s town due to logistics of the situation. Of course, I want as much time with the kids since our time is limited. We are visiting early in the hopes to have the time. ExNPD is being the martyr in granting the time along with information on all the activities he wants me to drive the kids to. That is the real reason for granting the time. Then he feels he needs to have some digs about me and then digs about my current husband. Nothing can be done out of pure kindness on his part. There is always an agenda to feel in control and superior. He is the narcissist. I deal with it better than in the past but it is very hurtful to my current husband when he is attacked and feels my kids contributed to it. I know the stress will get to me when I am there and my family always has anxiety/fear issues with the exNPD. My focus needs to be on enjoying the time with my kids and not feeling like I have to calm the emotions of so many people. I cannot allow myself to fall back into the bad habits that emotionally drained me before. Wish me luck.

  42. strongwoman2011 says:

    Things have become unbearable with NPD. I have had enough of his verbal abuse and tirades. I now have the strength to start the process for custody. He came over tonight. First the critical remarks,then the yelling, posturing, finger wagging in my face. He even grabbed the baby from his crib and continued to verbally abuse me. I am incredibly exhausted my baby is teething and not sleeping well. He pounces on me when I am the most vulnerable. If I assert myself he becomes even more escalated. Tonights criticisms, 1. Empty milk container in fridge 2. Dried food on the bumbo chair 3. No juice for him to drink 4. Am I going to nap all afternoon? (After I slept for one hour) 5. Not enough coffee mugs in my house 6. My kitchen is not set up ergonomically How much can one person take? I am such an idiot for thinking we could amicably co-parent. I am exhausted and emotionally drained. Even though I am not with this person. I continue to be in an abusive relationship.

  43. Survivor says:

    Hang in there. I have never been able to coparent with the exNPD. He can’t do it. It is always their way. Remember Mr. Right’s first name is Always. I got bashed in a recent email. He is perfect and I am always the one at fault. Distance has helped lessen the abuse but it will continue at least until the kids are 18. Just do what you need to for survival and try to get a good support system. It helps when others validate my feelings and are there to help me when I am getting kicked in the face. Hang in there. You will make it.

  44. mydaughtershero says:

    Good luck to both of you Survivor and Stronwoman2011. The holidays seem to be especially stressful anyway and then add an NPD and we all need a week at a spa!! I agree coparenting is a joke. In fact I’m sure that both mine and my partner’s exNPDs purposefully do everything from routine, bedtime, food choices, structure, rules, discipline,sleeping arrangements, etc. differently at their house just so the kids’ transistion back to us is chaotic. As far as the bashing, something that has helped me tremendously is using an “email only” form of communication with my ex and meeting at a public place for exchanges. No more spying in my house, tirades on the phone or in person and everything he spews about me or my partner is documented. This can come in handy later if you have to get a restraining order – sadly this is where we are now. Also a piece of advice Srongwoman2011 – keep a journal about your baby noting all the bonding and care you and your family give him. I would not trust any NPD to not fight for custody as they see children as prizes and extensions of themselves. They will lie and manipulate to get what they want. They can be very convincing to judges unfortunately. We just lost custody of a child who has been in our care for 2-1/2 years to an alcoholic/ drug addict who also happens to be a sympathetic witness in court. The battle goes on to an appeal and we will definitely add more evidence of bonding and family support since it’s a huge factor in awarding custody in our state. You might want to look up the factors judges use in your state and start documenting. In hind sight we should have done that too. On a somewhat positive note – my counselor told me that all NPDs self destruct eventaully by getting caught in their lies or being careless, that offers me some satisfaction when he’s really ticing me off…

  45. Survivor says:

    Thank you mydaughtershero for your encouraging words. I do restrict my interactions just through email and exhanges in public which does help. Even though there has been stress lately, something nice happened. I am always accused of not doing things for the children and how their school work suffers. Just as a background note, I was always the one who did homework with them, etc. I have been in education field for about 20 years so we know the truth. Anyway, well on his watch, my daughter’s reading level dropped. They were going to place her in a below level group for the beginning of this year and she was very discouraged. It’s sad because she is a bright girl but isn’t always given the support with the NPD. Well they retested her at the beginning of the year after being with me for the summer. She came up two reading levels over the summer and started on grade level for the beginning of the year. Sometimes we just need the validation that we do a good job because we always hear the opposite.

  46. strongwoman2011 says:

    Hi fellow strong moms! I wanted to update everyone. My home is free of NPD. My home is closed to visits. We have been meeting in public places. I have dropped my son off for two hour visits in his fathers’ home. We are in a mediation process right now. Unfortunately , I cannot limit the contact to emails. I respond to his calls by voice mail. I have felt so much better by limiting the contact. He leaves for Asia for a 6 week pleasure trip. I am glad he is leaving.

  47. mydaughtershero says:

    Yay!!! Good for you strongwoman2011 – you are living up to your name. Doesn’t it feel great to know your home is your own now?! It’s like you can breathe and heal even further when you know they can’t invade your space and time and you have your privacy back. You go girl! : ) Enjoy the 6 weeks of pleasure you will have without him around!

  48. PhoenixRising says:

    Wow, what incredibly strong hearts. I’m really honored to have all you here on this blog, even though I periodically disappear. I just get that way when I get triggered and depression rears its ugly head and weighs me down, but you and your journeys mean a lot to me.

    It’s inspiring how each of you are taking the steps you need to do what is right by you and your children. Stories and experiences of narcissists are nothing but frustrating, but how we can turn that energy around and not only survive but come to a place of thriving is absolutely inspiring.

    Enjoy your 6 glorious weeks of freedom, StongWoman2011, and good for you for drawing your boundaries!

    Stay centered in that core of beauty and light that you are, Survivor. I hope your time with your children was or will be sweet and joy filled.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your Ex attempting to manipulate the courts through his relatives, MyDaughtersHero, but I’m very happy you now have an attorney who seems to not only have the Ex’s number but a greater competency with the law. Be gentle with yourself and know that we are thinking about you.

    Even when I was not able to log on during these past weeks, I’ve thought of everyone here, and it has been an encouragement even in depression to me. So thank you – every one – for being who you are, for not only facing your Ex’s in the amazing way you do, but for having the generosity of spirit to share it here.

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