Power through Undermining

I don’t even know where to begin.

I am currently in the midst of yet another battle with my ex – an “exemplary citizen”, a wolf in sheep clothing. It’s a silent battle, not being verbally played out for all to hear, but it’s a battle nonetheless. Unfortunately our daughter, 13, is being, and has been for a few years now, put in the middle of it and played against me by her father.

Joint custody should mean equal say, negotiations when we don’t agree and give and take on both sides. Instead it’s turned into unilateral parenting where I have NO say. Well, I have a say, it’s just not respected whatsoever or twisted to make me look like the mean one.

If there’s a disagreement between my daughter and I with arrangements or activities, her father empathizes with her and tells her how hard it was being married to me, so he can’t imagine how tough it must be to be her daughter. He then tells her that she can do what she wants, without worry because he will ‘deal with me’ on her behalf.

Dealing with me means just doing what he wants or bringing his wife into this who twists and distorts anything I say.

I have never felt so helpless in my entire life. I am a well educated, stable, emotionally aware woman who goes to great lengths to remain objective who feels like she is banging her head on a brick wall every month.

The relationship between my daughter and I is very VERY fragile right now. I feel like I can do no right, like I have been rendered an ineffective parent who has no say at all in her daughters life. I say no, where appropriate or lets compromise – dad says yes, no matter what.

I am currently seeking help/advice from a mediator, which ex has been invited to participate with but has declined stating that he does not feel it would help….he is not the one with the problem.

I spend a great deal of time trying to focus my energies on doing what is right for my daughter. Sometimes I can’t help but feel like opening my mouth and telling her everything that her father has done, but I don’t. I am not that person.

In the mean time, I am struggling to maintain my sanity and counter all the bullshit. I write daily in a journal….facts…not opinions. I sat and read through it tonight and was reduced to tears when I realized cumulatively how I have allowed a man and his wife to encourage a massive wedge between myself and one of the most precious things in my life.

I left my ex due to his controlling nature. It’s taken me years to see that even in divorce he is still controlling me…I have not escaped it. I need to take the power back in my life – for my sake and my daughter’s.

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10 Responses to Power through Undermining

  1. dedicatedmom says:

    Dear Deep Breath, I was looking for information on coparenting this evening and stumbled on your post. I could have written it myself! I understand your pain and frustration. I am divorced after 18 years from a guy I didn’t recognize as a narcissist, but resembles your ex so closely that I am shocked! My son is 14 and prefers to stay with his dad. I only see my son 20% of the time and I am not happy about that at all. Dad, of course, insists that the 14 year old can make his own decisions and that he doesn’t want to see me any more than that. All of the decisions concerning my son are made in his household with his new wife. I finally got the ex into coparenting counseling and we have been there for 8 months with no improvement. He makes the decisions and I have no say whatsoever. There is no consulting, no negotiation, no compromise, no coparenting. There is no parenting plan that works because the teenager can veto every decision made by the adults and the ex says the teenager “doesn’t want that” and can “make his own decisions.” Meanwhile, I am left with a relationship with my son that is strained and thin. The coparenting therapist has been ineffective in even protecting my rights as a parent and I probably won’t go back. He has even allowed himself to be manipulated by the ex and further alienated my son from me. What is the point? I can’t offer you any solutions. I know how you feel and I hope that helps. I got my ex into therapy because I threatened to take him to court to get him there. No father wants to look stupid in front of a judge for not wanting to improve coparenting with his ex. Hang in there and take care of yorself. Get some counseling. I think my son will eventually figure out what his father has done and come back to me. Unfortunately there is not much more that I can do. I figure the ex didn’t care about what I wanted while we were married. Why would he care now?

  2. PhoenixRising says:

    Welcome to the blog, dedicated mom. How frustrating this must be for you! Even more so when the people you turn to for help wind up being bamboozled by the narcissist. But unfortunately, how not uncommon!

    I do believe you’re right. Eventually, your son will figure things out and come to appreciate he had at least one parent who loved him enough to want to set boundaries. Right now, it’s fun to do whatever you want, whenever you want, but as you get older you start to see things differently.

    You are commended for being the backbone in this relationship.

  3. Survivor says:

    Some courts look at Parent Alienation Syndrome as a factor to adjust custody arrangements. It is when one parent badmouths the other parent to the child and basically turns the child against that parent. You might want to check your state’s laws. Of course, the state I deal with doesn’t acknowledge it but yours may. It is worth a try.

  4. beatrixkiddo says:

    Oh my gosh, this is my exact story too. It is such a relief to see that I am not alone in this nightmare and it lessons my feelings that it is all me… if only i would… if only i hadn’t… knowing this now doesn’t change the past but somehow knowing the truth empowers me to make the necessary changes now and into the future, and proviedes great comfort and healing. Thanks for sharing

  5. GarethsMom says:

    DeepBreath & dedicatedmom, your stories are so similar to mine as well. Even the ages of our kids. My son is 14, and I love him dearly and always will, but these days, he seems to be just another way that the Narcissistic dad uses to inflict pain. It is the only means that he has left. I of course can feel hurt by what my son may say or do, or want to be mad at his new wife for mimicing the behaviors of my ex, but truthfully I know what it was like to be living under the same roof as him. You are either drinking his crazy coolaide, or its war. I left him when my son was 4, and that has made me enemy #1 for the last 10 years. I can sometimes take comfort in the fact that it is not just me that he torments. I have heard some grizzly tales from other parents of my sons friends, coaches, teachers and boy scout leaders. All of this did not help me in court. He is incredibly skilled at manipulating the system and will stoop to levels I could not even conceive of. I am having to come to terms with the fact that I am being pushed to the sidelines of my sons life, and this is breaking my heart. Going through empty nest syndrom 4 years early I guess. Trying to prepare myself for the next time the narcissist will need supply and will attempt to sabatoge time with my son to hurt me……I cannot out argue him, so he will probably get his way, but my goal is to NOT give him the supply he needs letting him see that he has upset me.

  6. Novoice says:

    Calling out to “deepbreath” and “dedicatedmom”!! As I’m searching for any and all advice on co-parenting with my x (a jerk as I call him),I stumble upon this sight and realize I’ve been dealing with a Narcissist. My fiance has described my x as such but I wasn’t sure until now. I’ve been searching through all my friends and their friends to try and find a similar “life” as mine to try and draw upon different ideas that may help. I haven’t until now, found anything relative to the horrible feelings I have because of feeling rejected and alienated from my kids’ lifes because of my x. Is there anyway I can get direct communication (maybe through email) with either of you. I’d love to further discuss “happenings” and maybe gain some “experienced” advice from someone “in my shoes” so-to-speak. Thanks for any replies.

  7. Only_By_Gods_Grace says:

    I just posted a plea for help in another blog thread on this site before reading these.

    I quite frankly am terrorfied that all I will gain is knowing I & my daughter are not alone….yes, it is invaluable in knowing this, but I really hope to gain some solid tools on how to raise a child with a full blown out of control NPD. My daughter is only 6 y.o. Please guide me in a direction that I can learn something which will help ease all the emotional scars she (and me too for that matter) is about to face.

  8. mydaughtershero says:

    GarethsMom have you looked into Parental Alienation yet?? Dr. Richard Warshak has written a book called Divorce Poison and has alot of information on the web. He has a website http://www.warshak.com. There is also a link that takes you to case law references…. http://www.warshak.com/alienation/pa-references/paslegal.html
    Good luck! We are also in the throws of attempted parental alienation….things we send home are burned, the child has been told his father is not his real father, visits are disrupted, on and on – it’s ugly. Fortunately we found the one attorney in our state to have a PA case on the books. We are gearing up for a trial. We have hope….I hope you can get some too!

  9. peanut02 says:

    The lack of empathy of the “n” will provoke sharp reactions from the rest of the family. Narcissists push their families to cut their own feelings off, to dumb themselves from the pain. This is the natural state of narcissists, they have cut off themselves from their feelings, from their true self.

    That is very sad.

    The people around him fall prey to charms and promises but are always later demeaned and abandoned. To cope, people around the “n” tend to mirror narcisstic behavior — they cut themselves off from feelings. During recovery, it is like entering a hall of mirrors: who was the narcissist?

    There are lists on ways to identify and avoid the narcissist. There needs to be ways to identify and cultivate good qualities and find reassurance that you are not the narcissist. Here is the start of a list and will start to help you feel assurance that you are the parent who values the child for herself/himself – not some arbitrary external “value.”

    1) You feel “right” when you are not around the “n.” You were feeling totally wrong around him, crazy even.

    2) When you catch yourself not thinking about him, you feel totally different. Better yet, you grow strong enough not to give the “n” the keys to drive you. Then you really feel like yourself.

    3) You see the people in your life as a community, not as people you need to campaign to win over the “n” approval to even seen on a regular basis.

    What do you do?

    a) Commit to not thinking about him. Fill your life. Find a way to be of service and do it: Cook for new moms, write grants for a local shelter, volunteer for a political campaign, help out at a local nonprofit. Fill your life: Go to the beach, the lake, the pool.

    b) Many approve of totally cutting off from the “n,” great idea. If you can or if you can just limit contact, do it. Tricky in custody negotiations (I’m going through this now).

    c) Explore your spirituality. Meditate, go to church, have a blast making new friends who will not treat you like an object, just a supply of energy.

    The “n” will try to manipulate and generate a sense that you are the crazy person. So don’t be. Be very, very calm.

    Here is the list of characteristics of a great person, paraphrased from a very old book, the Bible. This is what real people strive to do:

    Never judge and take time to hear from everyone. Be truthful in speaking and dealing with others. Love without aim. Apologize when wrong. Treat everyone with respect.

    Most of all: stay gentle. This is the best characteristic to focus on first. Diffuse anger and rage with gentleness.

    Many things are out of our hands. Pray and meditate.

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