Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Art of Passive Aggression, Part Two

It takes effort and energy for me to handle any interaction with the NSP.  I am not a slick and smooth operator, who handles the psychopath with a wry smile of confidence, and a deep breath of satisfaction.  No.  When I ignore the NSP, it takes effort and energy; I don't like it.  It takes self-control to avoid responding when he baits me.   I often have to resist checking email from him, which is why I have protocols in place, which can be read here.

The Narcissist's Game 

The NSP (Narcissistic/Sociopathic/Psychopathic) father of my children tries to engage me with his  nonsense games.   He pushes and violates boundaries.  It is subtle to the unknowledgeable observer, but I know the deal.    He wants to time-waste.  He wants to bend me over backwards.  The contact is via email, of course, since I will not see him in person or talk on the phone. Oftentimes, I can simply ignore him.   Sometimes, due to shared custody, I must play his silly game.

Recently, he accused me of not being responsive to him in the coordination of activities for our children (a big no-no in shared custody).  He demanded that I respond to his goodhearted, earnest and lovingly fatherly awesomeness 'for the sake of the children' (always that ploy).  He asked me some weird, inappropriate questions, all dumped into an overly lengthy, wordy, pompous email.  It was purely a trap to engage me in some narcissistic, mind-numbing, nonsense.

This particular matter has been lingering for the unimaginable length of nearly a year, which is totally-completely-100% unreasonable.   In fact, the matter was closed and settled for weeks, because I shut the nonsense down!  (I had let it go on longer than normal as a sort of experiment.)  

He's insane.  He is a Psychopath.  If he were sane, normal, decent, kind, and reasonable, the issue would have been easily settled in one month, maximum.  It would have been a month of easy, languid emails.  We could have been flexible!  What works for you? What works for me?  Let's work together!  Yay!

If the guy was sane, normal, kind and reasonable We Would Still Be Married!  He's not; And we're not.  So, in order to get his rocks off, and get some narcissist attention, he attempts to engage me, and make a relatively simple situation, utterly complicated.

On the Horns of a Dilemma.

In this situation, I have two options, neither of which work for me.

Option 1: Bend to his (ever changing) will.  Do what he demands.  This doesn't work, because I am constantly jumping through hoops, just like the marriage.  I'm out of the marriage.  I don't play that game.  

Option 2: Argue with him.  Reason with him.  Negotiate.  Compromise.  This doesn't work, because then I am caught in the web.  He can accuse me of further nonsense.   He has baited me because he wants to catch me in a trap.  He wants to be able to accuse me of wrong-doing.  He wants to be able to have something in writing that proves to the world that I am bad.  "You See?" he wants to proclaim, "She is a bad mother!  She will not co-parent!"  He wants to wrap me up in his web of craziness.  No thanks. 

The Bottom Line

This is where passive aggressive techniques work wonders with the NSP.

When I feel that I must respond, but I want to still avoid the trap he has set, I respond in the following way:

1. Ignore the Nonsense.  He wants (more than anything) for me to argue with him and defend myself.  I don't.  I won't.  He can't make me.

2.  Assume Nothing.   He's done a lousy job of asking me direct questions on purpose. It's not just laziness on his part, he wants to engage me.  If I fill in the blanks for him, he will assert that I have done it wrong.  (It's such a dumb game.  He's such a passive aggressive a-hole.)

3. Play Dumb.  I know what he wants, I can read between the lines.  He asks me 8 questions, none of which have a yes/no response.   I play dumb, and I ask a benign question like "What do you mean?"

4. Apologize.  I say a meaningless apology like, "I'm sorry.  I'm confused here.  What are you asking me?"

5. Redirect.  I will respond to his lengthy nonsense email via text.   If he writes me 1000 words on a text, that's crazy.  So, I'll respond via text, which sometimes ends it.  Or it will at least delay it.

I can't make him go away.  

I can only slow down the game, and make it no fun for him to play with me.  

I know, I know, all this sh*t is freaking exhausting.  I agree.  Protocols and procedures to interact with an ex-husband?  Seriously?  YES!  He's a freaking disaster, so I respond like a well-trained pilot; I whip out my manual of How To Land The Plan In A Disaster, and I follow the procedure in the manual.

The really hard part is: I have had to WRITE THE FREAKING MANUAL WHILE I'M LANDING THE FREAKING PLANE.  And this is why I feel it's important to share my experience.

Am I exhausted yet? 

Yes, it is exhausting.  But I must deal.  I had the rotten luck of getting conned by a con-artist and I had children with him.

Sometimes it's like a puzzle, an intellectual problem to be solved.  How to deal with the monster?  How to respond to cause myself the least about of trouble?  How to deflect, and sustain the least amount of damage?   Sometimes, it just feels like a whirlpool I am caught in.  A riptide, dragging me out to sea.  I have endured the nonsense for far too many years, and I am worn from it.  I feel war-torn.  Thread-bare.  Like a broken-down house.

Luckily, I have a coach, who walks me through it.  My touchstone and friend, Agnes, wraps her mind around the problem too.  We bounce ideas back and forth, strategize, and laugh together about it  because it can be very very funny.  It's so nice to have someone to share it with, otherwise it would be very isolating.  Also, when I am tempted to engage him in a fight, she will often talk me out of that tree.

Here are some gems that she wrote to me recently:

"Any contact with the man is such a waste of time.  The point is "engagement" -- his endless circular argument.  Time wasting."


"Ns are not reasonable. With them, it is the opposite of communication. They do not want settlement,  understanding, or peace. They want strife. It's all about control and destabilizing the victim."

What about you?  

Do you have a technique that works when you you deal with the Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath in your life?

Do you have a coach, or listener, or helper?

Take Care,
and I wish you peace,

AKA Rose Lee Mitchell

The Art of Passive Aggression, Part One

Why must I employ Passive Aggressive techniques to deal with the NSP?  Boundaries.  He has no care for boundaries.  In fact, he relishes opportunities to violate boundaries.  Why?  It establishes dominance.  It creates conflict.  It tests the water for future violations (abuse).  It wears the target down. 

Photographs by Toni Frissell
Public Doman
"Woman in tennis outfit, 1947"
"Weeki Wachee spring, Florida, 1947"
"Victoria Station"

I write about being silent when the NSP tries to pick a fight in this article "Nothing to Say."

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Art of Passive Aggression, Part One

Ahhh.  Passive Aggression.  One of the NSP's (Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath) favorite tools.  He uses it, so I use it too.  I must be passive aggressive in order to navigate the treacherous relationship we have: the forced-to-because-we-have-children-together relationship.  It's an extremely Low-Contact relationship that I am required to have with a psychopath.

Why must I employ Passive Aggressive techniques to deal with the NSP?  Boundaries.  He has no care for boundaries.  In fact, he relishes opportunities to violate boundaries.  Why?  It establishes dominance.  It creates conflict.  It tests the water for future violations (abuse).  It wears the target down.

I have a few options when I (have to) communicate with the NSP.
1.  Routinely establish and restate the boundaries.  (He ignores.)
2.  Deal with the conflict head-on.  (He loves this.)
3.  Be passive aggressive.  (Most effective.)

How does he do Passive Aggression?
1. He "forgets".  Forgetting is so convenient.
2. He was "too busy".  Busy and Forgetting go hand-in-hand.
3. He's "sorry." No he isn't.  He's not "sorry" at all.  He's delighted.  He's laughing.
4. He lies.

See, I'm a straight shot.  I say what I mean.  NSP's love that.  It's so very useful to them.  It's like giving a stalker a map and a key; a map straight to your location and a key to open your door.

My politeness was one of his favorite tools to use against me.  Also, my emotions, my openness and kindness, my forgiveness; these were all weapons he would use in demolishing the solid ground I stood upon.  Next, my anger, disappointment (in him and our life together), my declarations that our relationship was not working out and that I wanted a divorce; these became even better weapons to use in an attempt to destroy me.  WHY would someone go to so much trouble to destroy another?  WHY on earth?  WHY: he is a psychopath, purely and simply.  He enjoyed the process immensely.  It made him feel powerful, in control, omnipotent, God-Like.

I took away his power when I left him; when I said the ultimate "no" by deed and not by word.  Leaving a psychopath makes them really really really really mad.  He lost his toy.

How could he still maintain some control of me?  Through our children.   He fought for custody.  He mistreats them.  He neglects them.  This is where we stand today.

Using The Truth as a weapon,  he'll lie about anything and everything.  Just for sport.  Just because he can.  It played out in the marriage.  It played out in the divorce.  And it plays out now, in shared custody.   He will lie to me.  He will lie to our children.  "I can't" means "I won't."  "I forgot" means "I didn't feel like it."  Questions will be asked of me.  He doesn't really want or need the answer.  He wants to waste my time and engage with me.  He wants attention.

He taught me the Art of Passive Aggression.  It's his currency.  I use Passive Aggression in our dealings.  I don't give him my attention.  I delay my responses.  I give the shortest possible answers.  I ignore.  I ask questions I don't need the answer to, like "What do you mean?" and, "I'm sorry, I don't understand."  I lie and I apologize.  I do what he does.  It is a tool of self defense, and it is 100% necessary.

My clear, concise, well-thought-out responses and communication with an NSP do me no good.  Being honest does me no good.  Being straightforward, accommodating, helpful, and gracious are traits that leave me vulnerable to the disordered person.

In life, with people in general, my tactic is to be who I truly am, EXCEPT with someone who has proved themselves to be a Bully, A Narcissist, a Sociopath.  When I identify a person as having NSP traits, I shut the door.  Oh, man, I shut the door so fast.

By AKA Rose Lee Mitchell

The Art of Passive Aggression, Part Two

When I feel that I must respond, but I want to still avoid the trap he has set, this is how I respond.  

Here are the protocols I use when communicating with the psychopathic father of my children.

1. A Dedicated Mobile Phone, Only For Him.   
2. No Voice Conversations - Texts Only.  
3. A Dedicated Email Account, Only For Him. 
4. Texts Instead of Email Whenever Possible.  
5. Reduce Face-To-Face Contact To Nearly Zero.  
6. Delay. a.k.a. The 24hr Rule.

by Daniela Vladimirova 
"Shut Up, take 2"
Used under Creative Commons license

Here is some interesting further reading about Passive Aggression and the Personality Disordered Person (Narcissist, Sociopath, Psychopath)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Happy Home (Free of the Abuser)

Life after the psychopath goes on.  Recovery happens.  I try to recovery gracefully.  Shortly after I left him, I declared a goal of Not Becoming Bitter.  I think I have achieved that.

A bomb went off in my life.  Perhaps, if you are reading this, a bomb has gone off in your life.  Or, perhaps you fear that if you leave the man who currently holds you hostage, you are afraid of the bomb that will go off.  The man who holds you hostage.  Too dramatic?  It isn't a dramatic description for my story.  I was afraid to leave him.  I was afraid of what he would do to me.  I was AFRAID.  I lived in fear.  FEAR. In my own home.  Constant, unabated fear.

The words "Walking On Eggshells" did not describe, in any way, my experience.  It was like, everything was fine.  Until it wasn't.  We'd be on a family outing and he would start a rage fit.  "Rage Fits" describe my experience.

And there.  There is the tightening in my chest.  Writing this, the anxiety just began.  I lived with that anxiety for years.  Why do we medicate women who are anxious?  Why don't we ask questions?  Why are you so anxious?  What is going on?  Tell me about it.

Wandering the hallways in my house, I would wish and pray to God that the NSP (Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath) I married would JUST HIT ME IN THE FACE SO THAT I WOULD KNOW FOR SURE THAT I WAS BEING ABUSED SO THAT I COULD LEAVE HIM.


Note to past self (and anyone reading this who has the same wish and prayer): If you are wishing and praying to be STRUCK IN THE FACE so that you are SURE YOU ARE BEING ABUSED....


Yes, I am yelling.

No one should have to live in fear.  LIVE IN FEAR.  Live in fear in your own home?  Live in fear, constantly, fearful of your husband?  Of the next rage fit?  Of the financial abuse?  Of the emotional abuse? Of the next rage fit?

No one should have to spend her alone time RECOVERING from time spent with her spouse.

Note to past self: Your home is your sanctuary.  If your relationship with your husband is so wearisome that you can not plan ahead to meet a friend, head out of town, do a project, or work, then, my darling darling darling sweet beautiful girl: You are being abused and you need to get out.  You deserve a peaceful, calm and lovely life.  You deserve to be treated with love and respect.  You deserve to save and spend your money in ways that honor your values.  Your life is so valuable.  Do not waste one more moment in that marriage with an abusive man.

Yes.  When I left the NSP a huge bomb went off in my life.  It was similar to other the other bombs he ignited during the marriage. After I left he had little use for the carrots of kindness he would show me when we were married. After I left, the mask of the Good Husband was nearly always off, and he always used the stick.

But after I left, he had almost zero physical access to me.  He lost control of me, permanently.  My home was, and is, mine.  All mine.  My space is mine.  He can not come here.  There are no more torturous family outings.  There are no more Sunday afternoons spent crying in my room after enduring hours of his screaming.  There are no more nights spent with a racing heart, wishing I could leave him, being grateful that at least I have a warm place to sleep, for that is all I can find to be grateful for in the hellish situation.

Now, my time alone is spent as I choose.  I feather my nest.  I decorate.  I sew pillow covers in the exact fabrics that I prefer.  Every finish in my house is exactly what I choose, I do not need to jump through a hoop to please anyone but myself.   I plan how I will spend my money to make my home exactly as I wish.

A bomb went off in my life, and I am still recovering.  I am still putting things in the right spots.  I am still figuring it out.  But I am completely in charge and in control of my environment and my finances.  He has no say and no sway.  I serve my own agenda, not his.  I am the mistress of all I survey, and the NSP has no power here.

By AKA Rose Lee Mitchell

Both lovely images 
by Kate Ware via
"In The Garden With Buddha"
creative commons license

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How do Narcissists Get so Much? They are Parasites.

Narcissists often seem to possess so much.  People, money, objects.  Narcissists are parasites.  The parasite lives off a host sucking the nutrients.  Rose's last post detailed how her Narcissist sucked the energy out of her; she was used as a servant/slave while he went off to do important stuff (a.k.a. make money).  A successful narcissist is a different breed of cat.  Even the ones with money and success are parasites.

I, too, married a Narcissist.  Mine was perfect on paper: recently divorced, recently moved to our city, hired with tenure to a prestigious university.  

I was swept away and I married him after only knowing him for six months.  We never had an argument in those six months.  Any disagreements we had were resolved amicably.  It was an easy going and companionable relationship.  

The first rumblings started a week before the marriage, but I didn't recognize the symptoms.  Within four weeks of the marriage he showed his true colors.  The cyclical mood swings which characterize the abuser: my Narcissist cycled every 7-10 days with THREE days of silence!  After 2 1/2 years, I left.  I was exhausted.  

He was a parasite.  And, you know, I never really figured that out until after the divorce was finalized, since he was so good was he at hiding his avarice.  He made more money than I did.  We were both well employed professionals.  When he was hired with tenure at his fancy university, they gave him an option on  a university-funded mortgage at exceedingly good interest terms.  At one point when he was house hunting, we talked about buying together.  But, I told him that I had no interest in buying property with a man with whom I was not married.  (Boundary setting.)  Well, he chaffed at that a bit.  He just got divorced after a 20 year relationship.  Yet, I was fully in agreement that it was too soon to get married.  Then he says that he will never marry a woman unless he lived with her.  My attitude was, we'll worry about that in the future.  I think that I handled it well.  The point being is once a Narcissist has his sights set on you, he will lie in wait & string you along.

So, one day he sees this house.  I went too.  I never looked at the house.  I went to the yard & sat down.  A realtor seized on me.  I told her, "I'm a visitor.  I'm not buying."  She scampered away.  After he saw the house, he suggested that we go into the city and have dinner.  Not typical for him.  Always working on his courses & research.  OK.  So we strolled in the city.  Had an expensive meal in a sidewalk cafĂ© which he paid for.  We strolled around the park & ponds.  All lovely & romantic on a late August afternoon.  On the side of the pond, he proposed to me.  Hmm.  I thought you didn't want to get married?  "Well, I saw the house.  I see us in it.  I want us in it.  I see our future there.  I love you."  I told him I needed to think about it.  Apparently, the next day, he spent almost four hours in the house with a realtor!  He decided he wanted it.  Oh, by the way, I agreed to marry him & buy the house with him.  Within 24 hours, I found that he had made an offer on the house BUT he signed my name to the offer!  I should have walked away then.  He was like, "You were at work.  Time was of the essence."  Huge boundary issue.  Forgery.  But, I overlooked it.  

We bought a house & planned a marriage.  We were married one week before the closing.  Everything was a frenzy.  Did I notice that he did not send wedding invitations to any of his friends from that place he came from?  Yes.  It was far away & short notice & he was busy.  He preferred to send formal announcements after the ceremony.  I realize now, had the sale of the house fallen through, there would have been no marriage.  You see, I was getting married to a man I loved.  Later, I would understand, he got married to buy a house which he could not afford on his own.

At that time, the mortgage market was booming.  But, he couldn't get a second mortgage (to supplement the university mortgage) because he was not a permanent resident alien in the United States.  That's where I came in.  The citizen.  But, in the end, we did not get a second mortgage.  Both he & I ponied up equal amounts of cash with the university mortgage.  Before we went into it, we decided everything would be 50/50.  OK.  After we moved in, all the guy did was WORK.  Work on his job.  Work on the house.  And the money he wanted for all his renovations.  All the time, I was broke.  My checks were spent before they ever walked into the living room.  All the time the emotional upheavals but we never argued about money.  He picked fights every 7-10 days.  My position was to always remain calm & to give him what he wanted to keep him quiet.  

One day, I put my foot down.  He wanted something for the house.  I said, "No.  I cannot afford that.  The thing works fine.  I'm not paying for that."  A day later, he came back.  "I'll pay 67% & you pay 33%.  How's that sound?"  OK.  I paid.  We also had a joint account for the household costs.  Laundry soap, food, etc.  Well, I noticed that he paid for his personal dry cleaning with that debit card.  Also, I noticed that he used it at the drug store to buy his shaving supplies, etc.  Hmm.  But, I said nothing.  Once I destroyed his sweater which he had thrown into the wash.  He made such a scene, I had to buy him a new one.  The next time he put a sweater in the wash, I said:  "At your own peril.  If it is destroyed, I will not replace."  He sent it to the dry cleaner, & I paid 50% for that cleaning.  Hmm.  

About eight months after the catastrophic crash of the stock market & the housing market, I told him I was leaving him.  Three hours later, he came back with a printout from the internet.  He said, "The house is worth 60% of what we paid.  I assure you, I will buy this house from you & take this crash into the calculation.  You made a bad investment."  I still didn't get it.  Anyhow, lucky for me, after he had FOUR appraisals, the house never really lost value.  I lost everything which I invested in renovations; I lost half a car; I paid for his divorce lawyer; he broke my possessions & stole my stuff.  But, I got almost all my equity out.  Still, I didn't get it.  I didn't realize even then that he was a financial parasite.  I thought that he was just a mean & spiteful, malignant narcissist.  We were divorced within 11 months of my leaving him.  It would have taken less time but he dragged it out.  And, in November when we finally signed the separation agreement,  he needed 90 days to raise a mortgage to buy me out.

Well, two months after the divorce, and exactly a year after I left him, I was contacted by a woman.  She had been with him from the day on which I moved out.  (They can never be alone.)  He swept her off her feet.  Loved her.  Wanted to marry her.  She moved into the house after 8 weeks of dating him.  (My stuff was still there because he never let me get it out.)  I would learn, that first month that I was out & she was in, he proposed to her.  He wanted her to buy my share of the house!  She refused.  But, that week, his parents gave him the money in cash to buy me out.  (So much for needing 90 extra days to raise the money--his parents gave him the money some four months prior to the date he signed the separation agreement.)  What she didn't know, but I had e-mails from the same time frame of their first weeks, no bank would give him a mortgage to buy me out.  (After crash.)  He was proposing to her to get her to buy me out.  (He was sending me e-mails to come back to him at the same time he was proposing to her!  Whatever woman was of no difference, just whichever one would help him keep the house!)  She never knew that he was refused mortgages.  (She's the one who told me about all the appraisals.)  She made more money than him; she sold a house for a small fortune; he had her move all her antiques into his tiny house.  Apparently, she paid the taxes on the house but refused to put any money into renovations.  She paid for all their meals out because she earned more than him.  In nine months, she was out $55,000 with him.  And, he wouldn't let her get her antiques.  (Just as he wouldn't let me get my stuff.)  In the end, he stole from her & broke her stuff.  He cleaned out their joint bank account which had $4,000 in it.  He did the same to me but our account had only $400 in it!  

Another  bit I learned, he portrayed me as pathologically secretive.  (A.K.A. boundaries.)  He couldn't live with a woman who was secretive.  He got all the numbers to her bank accounts!  All her expensive jewelry went into a jointly-held, safe deposit box!  He never got around to giving his account numbers.   She paid for all his trips to her house in Florida & to her other place before she sold it.  The two of us realized, "He's a con-artist."  He gets women to subsidize his standard of living.  After that, I contacted the ex-wife.  She told me that she lost a bundle of money in her divorce!  She, too, had made more money than him & he exploited it to the fullest in the end by getting half of the value of the house which a lion's share had come from her originally!  Also, he stole from her a valuable collection of three hundred year old books!  In our house, he had an "office" which covered 25% of the entire floor space of the house!  He had thousands of books.  But, there was this area which displayed a prize collection of three hundred year old books!  The ex-wife let them go rather than dicker with him.  Good riddance. 

In the end, it all came together.  I saw.  Everything was about a house.  The man married me to buy a house which he could not afford.  And, when he divorced me, he was prepared to marry another woman to keep that house.  I subsidized his standard of living.  Oh, and did I mention the taxes?  I am self-employed.  I made clear that I wanted to file independently.  But, he insisted that we file together.  During the marriage, I felt that all I did was pay taxes.  After the divorce, I would learn.  From his pay check, he would have the minimum amount deducted.  At tax time, we would share what more we owed.  Each year of the marriage, I would pay more & more in quarterlies to the IRS hoping upon hope that would cover it.  Never did.  In the end, I learned that I had been paying approximately 60% of his personal income tax on his salary!  Also, paying 50% or more of his personal living expenses.  Within days of him leaving that woman who contacted me, he had a new woman.  Also, very successful.  Eventually, he sold that tiny house which he purchased with me.  Now he lives in a huge place which he bought with the new woman.  Good luck to her!  

By AKA Agnes Parnell

Photo Credit: Nick Kenrick 
"A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams."
Used under Creative Commons License.  Via

Photo Credit: Alvaro Tapia
Used under Creative Commons License.  Via

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Narcissist's Productivity and Success Comes at Our Expense

Alternate Title:  How does the Narcissist get so much Sh*t Done?

How is he so productive?  So 'successful'?  How does the Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath do it?

How?  HE USES PEOPLE.  He gets sh*t done because he's not the one doing the work.

How does this play out with custody?   Oh, even though we share custody, I am the parent who does most of the work.  That's right.  No shocker there.

Medical, Dental, Vision.  I schedule the appointments, I take the kids to and from, I let the teachers know in advance that the kids will miss, and on and on and on.  Eyeglasses break, and I get them fixed.  Retainers are lost and I get them replaced.  I do at least 95% of the work.  Then, I get to to bill him!  Billing takes time.  He pays a large portion of the expenses, but I have to bill him.  I have to keep track that he actually reimburses me. And then, when he doesn't, I have to re-bill him.  Joy. 

And for all this effort, do I get thanks?   No.  I get criticized.  I get threatened.  I get accused.  He makes demands.  Oh Joy.  

Today, I'm not feeling at all Zen about it.  I'm pissed off.  I'm tired of this sh*t.  I mean, this is NOT what I signed up for when I decided to be a mother.  I expected to be loved and supported and appreciated by my spouse.  Instead, I feel incredibly disappointed and angry.

And, to be sure, he throws in plenty of sabotage.   He knows that neglecting our children's health and hygiene needs will infuriate me.  How does he know this?  Why, because I am a MOTHER.  I am a good, decent, conscientious mother.  I love my children.  I take care of them.  He neglects them in myriad ways, and I put the pieces back together.  

It was like this during the marriage.  Although, I had much more control back then, since he was not around so much, and I had 100 percent custody.   

This is a good time to mention that having 100 percent custody means having zero percent time off.  No time off is a huge bummer.  Shared custody, while not my preference, is not all bad! That will be the subject for another article. 

School Projects are mostly left to me and my time.  (I hate the concept of "my time" and "his time." But, for the sake of this discussion, I will leave it.)  My kids come home with half finished projects, or barely started, or badly done - Due The Next Day.  They had all week, or weekend to do the project.  Typically, they began the project with me.  Or completed half or more, with me.   But they needed to finish it up while with their dad.  They come home tired from staying up late, working on these projects at the last minute.  They have to cram it in at home.  With me.  Last minute.  Stressful.  There are often tears.  There is drama.  (What a waste.  What a shame.  What a childhood.)

School Homework.  Let's not even go there.  Eye roll.  

Parenting.  Even though we share custody.  I feel like I do most of the parenting.  The discipline.  At his house, bad behavior does not reduce privileges.  Excessive allowances are still given and chores are still opportunities to earn more cash.  Sleepovers are still permitted and encouraged, even if the child has been acting inappropriately.  Why?  Well, sleepovers are easier!  Ship the kid off to some other parent to care for. And all the cash given to a child?  Buying love?  Yes, buying love.  

Chores.  I feel like I am the parent who does most, if not all, of the teaching about chores.  I feel like I have taught all the kitchen work, including cooking skills.  I have taught how to clean a bathroom.  How to clean a bedroom.  How to make a list to keep track of what needs to be done.  I spend so much time teaching these skills.  I think he teaches nothing (based on what my children say).  Yet, he reaps the rewards, doesn't he?

Remember, this is an article about how he gets so much sh*t done.  Well, he's getting all that sh*t done because he is ignoring our children.  I KNOW he is ignoring our children because they TELL ME that they are ignored.  He wanted so much custody in order to punish and control me.  He wanted so much custody because he wanted to look good, he wanted to be super-dad.  He wanted so much custody because he felt like it was HIS RIGHT.  Well, okay.  It IS his right.  Good for him!  But is it good for the kids?  No.  Not in this case.  No.  It is not.  So, I raise the kids on way less time than it actually takes to raise kids, and when they are not with me, they are essentially left to their own devices.  

Table Manners.  Oh my GAWD.  Does he teach them table manners?  No!  Was it like this during the marriage?  Yes. Done on purpose to drive me NUTS. 

Hygiene.  OMG.  I am the one who has mostly done the hair cuts.  The teeth brushing?  After I left him, the children got gingivitis.  That's right.  They didn't have to brush with him!  He never checked!  Thankfully, now that they are getting older, this is better.  But, OMG.  On and on I could go!

You get the point.  It takes no time to brush children's teeth, or to do their hair, if you DO NOTHING.  So, he gets a lot done in that time.  Meanwhile, I do EXTRA work making up for the messes that he causes for the kids.  On and on I could go with the messy details.

One can do the math of the time he has saved, not checking those little mouths to make sure the teeth are properly brushed.  15 minutes a day.  Add that up.  

His Harem.  Oh yes, the Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath and his Harem!  When our kids are sick, does he stay home and nurse them back to health?  Heck no!  His harem will do that trick!  The kids are shipped off to some loving woman to do that job!   Harem members help pick out clothes for the kids.  Hats, gloves, shoes, coats, boots.  You name it.   Harem members take kids places and babysit!  How nice!  How nice for him!

Our children would rather be with THEIR MOTHER, but they have learned the hard way to KEEP THAT TO THEMSELVES or there is HELL TO PAY.  Don't make the N/S/P angry.

The harem members help parent.  The harem members help with homework.  The harem members serve as a surrogate mother.   He would explain this by arrogantly saying "It Takes A Village", implying that by using a village, he is the superior parent, and then he would smile that fake psychopathic smile.   My children have actually said to me that they wish their father would just GO AWAY.  That they like being at his house so much better when he is not home.  They prefer the harem.  The harem pays attention to them.  Takes care of them.  Makes sure they go to bed on time.  All that, you know, parenting stuff.

His Minions.  I don't know the depth of this one, but I do know that when we were married, he would align himself with business partners who did the dirty work for him.  A minion did a lot of the work on projects that served him.

Not my problem anymore.

In the marriage, I did a ton of unpaid work for him.  No pay check.  No social security benefit.  Nope.  I just served him.   My effort and energy serviced his goals.  This subject also deserves an article of its own.

Snuggles and Love.  I'll end on a high note.  My purpose as a mother is to love my kids completely with words and deeds.

I was the primary caregiver and primary attachment figure before the marriage. My babies and me, we were like a mama bird and baby birds, snuggled in a nest.  Much love.  Much attention.  Much squawking.  Much squealing.  

After I left.  Aww, Man...Damn.  My baby birds would come home all damaged.  They needed massive mama love to fix them.  They missed me terribly, painfully.  And I missed them.  And we would do EXTRA snuggles.  

And we still do.

Do you know how much time it takes to do all that snuggling?  HOURS.  Dinner dishes do not get washed when we snuggle the babies.  

So, he gets so much sh*t done because he's not snuggling babies.  He is neglecting babies.  He is ignoring babies.  And the babies are waiting until it's time to go back to their Mama Bird, because she will snuggle them in her nest and give them all the love and birds and squawking and singing they need.

I am still their primary attachment figure, but they have to do without me far too much, because, you know, their father has to assert his rights.  Meanwhile, he's completely unavailable to love and care for anyone, since he is out there, getting so much Sh*t Done.

Thanks for reading,

AKA Rose Lee Mitchell

Charming Image 
by Bev Sykes "Mama and Baby"
Used by Creative Commons License on

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Nothing to Say

I was married to the guy for LONG ENOUGH...

I have been divorced from the guy and dealing with shared custody for LONG ENOUGH...

to know that there is Nothing to Say.

Nothing To Say. Why?  Because he is a Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath.
Engaging with a N/S/P is a recipe for disaster.

I swear, I am traumatized.   Just thinking about an interaction with him, gets my cortisol flowing.  Even though I have a handle on it, finally.  I have my boundaries defined, and protocols for interactions.   I still churn in my mind various scenarios.  I think of what he'll say, and how I should respond.  I turn it over again and again in my mind.

It was a real problem during the marriage, of course.  I mean, that goes without saying.  It was miserable to 'communicate' with him.  He never really wanted any resolution or clear communication.  And it wasn't with just me, either.  I would watch him do the Word Dance with friends, and especially disgustingly, our own children.  The common term in the world of Narcissistic Abuse Recovery is "Word Salad".

After I left him, the interactions got worse.  Two-thousand word emails from him were commonplace.  UGH.  The time wasting.  Everyone got sucked into these stupid, pointless and time-wasting Word Dance emails.  So boring.  And no one could make them stop.

No Response Ever Made Them Stop.   No answer.  No explanation.  No description.  No defense.  No offense.  No threat.  Nothing made the stupid game of psycho-tennis end.

Except for the Magic Pill called "Nothing to Say".

Silence Works Wonders.

If you watched me in my daily activities, you would see no evidence of the churning that still goes on in my head.

It must be the trauma.  Hopefully, I am at the end of it now.  Because now, I no longer write pre-emptive rough draft responses to have at the ready.  I no longer spend hours and days crafting the Perfectly Worded Response that might make a difference and Shut Him Up.  Nope.  But, as I go about my daily routine, my thoughts are often interrupted with "What if he says xyz?  What will I do?  How will I respond?"  And, blessedly, my first (or second, or third) thought is, "I Will Say Nothing".  And that momentary anxiety ebbs away.  I can take a deep breath.  I can resume thoughts that will actually make a difference in my life, rather than spinning on a hamster wheel in my mind about "How To Control The Psychopath In My Life".

When he inevitably writes a bitchy email to me about xyz, that I have done wrong, that I am wrong, that I disappoint, blah blah blah.... There is Nothing To Say.  Nothing.

When he criticizes me for xyz, demands an answer, threatens, bitches, and moans.....  There is Nothing To Say.  Nothing.

He writes for his own amusement.  His stress relief.  Because he's cranky or angry or bored or DRUNK.  I doubt he puts much thought into it at all.

He moves on to his next order of business, whatever that is.  And, Lord Have Mercy, I should be doing the same.  Focusing on the Disordered Person gets us no where.  (Refer back to the Hamster in the Wheel).

And, you know what?  With the Sound of Silence coming from my end of the wire, he writes less and less and less and less... which is sweet music to my ears.

I have pretty much stopped defending myself.  Over time, this has reduced his attacks.

Take Care,

AKA Rose Lee Mitchell

Here's a tip: We can't control people, and trying to do so will make us sick.
Check out the Al-Anon speakers on youtube.  They are amazing.

Image of the Hamster Wheel from
by William "not a metaphor for your life"
Creative Commons License

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Blame versus Personal Responsibility

"blame" by Yuliya Nome

There's a balance to life and to everything.   Blame.   IT WAS HIS FAULT.   It wasn't my fault.   Our culture makes a religion of Personal Responsibility.   I would have been better off if I had blamed my husband more. A lot more.  Instead, I fell victim to the cult of personal responsibility.  The trap.   I would rush off to my feel-good personal responsibility sessions, and get enough juice to make it through another week with an abuser.

I thought I could "think and try" my way into a better relationship with him.  Or pray my way.  Or 12-Step Serenity Prayer my way through my children's childhood, and things would get better.  That's what all the women's magazines say.  You know, those periodicals that we pay for in order to be told what to wear, what to buy, what we should prefer, and generally, How To Live Our Lives.   Really?

General relationship advice mostly doesn't consider the fact that one may be involved with a disordered individual who aims to control, belittle and destroy the Other.   Relationship advice which fails to assess the Goodness of the Other is meaningless.  Worse: it is Harmful.

Because he wasn't the A Streetcar Named Desire, stereotypical, movie-version Obvious Abuser, I didn't know that I was in a hopeless situation.  He was slick.  He looked good in a suit.  He made lots of money in a profession that reeks with authority.  He spoke with excellent grammar.  He had an excellent education.  And when he wanted to, he could talk real nice.

I thought we could work it out.  I thought things would calm down.  Well, he never wanted things to calm down. I can see that so clearly now, outside of the relationship.  There was never a chance in hell that he was going to chill.  Drama is his middle name.  What's funny: I'm the one who looks dramatic.  Emphatic.  Funny.  Colorful.  Artistic.  You know, "out there".  He is the calm, ordered, tempered one.  HA HA HA HA HA.  Whatevs.  Without him, my life can return to its peaceful, former glory.  Of calm, quiet, serenity.

Looks can be so deceiving.

He looked really good, on paper.  He still does, I guess. Unless you know how to read between the lines.  Which I do.  Now.  But, back then, in the marriage, I bought the advice of giving 100% to the relationship.  Maybe that is good advice in a healthy marriage?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I don't know.  After what I've lived through, giving 100% sounds like a really bad idea.  But, I didn't have a healthy marriage.  I didn't have a real relationship with the man I married.  It was false, because he was false.

I don't even consider myself to have been married, and this is a new idea for me.  It was like living with a ghost, or a character.  Is it a marriage if you never really knew your spouse?  If you were never really known?  If he wore a mask every single day of his life?  If, when the mask slipped, you were looking at a monster and you wanted desperately to get away, and never see him again?   That doesn't sound like marriage to me. That sounds like a horror story.

If we live in a world where I am 100% responsible for the outcome of the marriage, where one spouse is 100% responsible for the relationship?  Well, that is just the dumbest advice ever given.  And if I am 100% responsible for my mood, and my happiness?  Really?  If I have a monster screaming in my face and chasing me from room to room?  If I have lived with chronic stress for years, caused by living with an abuser, such that I self-medicate with substances or activities that are not helpful or healthy long-term?  Being subjected to chronic stress is my fault?  Really?  When the abuser isolates me from friends and family and work opportunities, it's my fault?  I should take responsibility for his abuse?   Seriously?

Clearly, blaming My Self does me no good.  Blaming Him, and Sitting In That Space of Muck and Yuck, also does me no good.  Nor does it do any of my relationships any good.   Nor does it do my children any good.   Moving On does us all a world of good.

processing the past,
understanding it,
framing it in some sort of positive light,
and letting it go....
this is the work that I am doing.

By AKA Rose Lee Mitchell

Did taking responsibility for the state of your relationship cause you trouble?  Does it still?
I would love to hear from you.

Please make up an alias when you comment, so that I can address you by a name other than Anonymous.  Thank you.