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This is my first time in an online support group. I am separ

BlueNorth's picture
[415]

This is my first time in an online support group. I am separated (3-4 years now) from my highly intelligent ex-husband-to-be (of 30 years!) who has narcissistic tendencies and is intermittently psychologically abusive and highly manipulative. There is a repeating pattern of waves of anger and controlling behaviour leading up to key events such as Christmas, New year, birthdays (his or the children's), holidays. We have had counselling and mediation for 4 years on and off now and are still nowhere near divorced. There is a continual feeling of walking on shifting sands as everything which has been agreed has to be repeatedly renegotiated. It's emotionally very draining for me and my partner and of course the children, the younger of whom is starting to notice and comment on the manipulative behaviour. The older is sadly being encouraged to see me and my partner in a poor light and to spend an increasing amount of time with my ex and his partner, with a view to living there full time. It's devastating but I feel I can't pull in the opposite direction or my child(ren) will rip up the middle.

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BlueNorth's picture
[415]
Mar 18

@Karinah. Gosh, I have tears in my eyes reading that I've managed to help someone while struggling so much here myself. Thank you! I will keep noting things as I think of them. Having survived the long and toxic run-up to and immediate aftermath of my dear daughter's birthday (yet more angry emails, still coming in as I write) I'm just about to sink into the sofa and breathe out.. My daughter was frustrated and annoyed that my ex and his partner were trying to make her plans suit their needs rather than hers, I'm amazed at how much insight she has. I keep having to remind her that we need to be kind and patient with them as I don't think they know they are doing it, nor can they help it. I keep hoping if I show a good example that it will win over a bad example eventually. I have also said she's to feel free to ask any of her 4 adults to behave themselves if they are acting like children! She's got enough personality that she could carry it off :) So sorry to hear about your daughter, just keep being the best role model you can and explaining the reason for your choices / actions so that she can make informed choices as she grows and learns. Can you bring in other people with good "values" into her life to help you? Maybe local groups.... Sunday school at church or the junior version of Girl Guides / Scouts? Other like-minded parents you can spend time together with to reinforce the good behaviours as being the norm? Remember also to care for yourself and keep your emotional battery charged with relaxation and positive company. Sending warm vibes....

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Karinah's picture
[8970]
Mar 18

Well now you're going to make me all teary eyed because you just validated what I've been thinking for a long time. Only no one around me really understands. I need other people to help teach my child values. Undo the brainwashing. Talk about what a good mama she has, etc. If her Dad is teaching her not to respect me and teaching her malignant behaviors, I alone cannot undo this. Especially since I am the one she is learning not to respect. I try to talk to friends about this (leaving out extreme terminology like brainwashing etc) and they don't get it. I don't get enough support. Instead others seem to not be able to hear me. They have their own preconceived ideas. Usually they think I just need to be more strict. Wrong! I am already very consistent and follow through with appropriate behavior modification. As a mom, you know your child the best. Yet everyone else thinks they are the experts and have the solutions. When they don't even really know your kid. When I speak, I feel I'm falling on deaf ears. And, what I hear in return is, invalidation, denial of reality, normalizing bad behavior, thinking I'm worrying too much... Although recently, my child's new pediatrician said something to Dad about how he was "normalizing" her behavior rather than taking the conservative route and looking into it. First time I have had a professional not enable his narc thinking and take the side of caring for our child!
We will start Daisys. I think it's an outstanding organization. Hope she can stay in it with the custody sched. I wish church were an option. I would love to go. But I'm concerned of the lack of teaching critical thinking skills at a young age. So maybe I can find something more on the "spiritual" end. And, as recomended in high conflict cases, we will work on "flexible" thinking skills.

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Karinah's picture
[8970]
Mar 18

@BlueNorth - Here's a link to an article about helping kids who have experienced trauma. http://teacher.scholastic.com/professional/bruceperry/working_children.htm
Also, I think the fact that you and your new partner are happy and set a good example is key. Even if they don't show it. They will love being in a happy home with a happy couple and having stability. I am sending you many prayers.

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