Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sorry for the downer. Co-parenting with a Narcissist/Psychopath IS a downer.

I wish I was doing better.  I wish I was all healed up.  I'm not.  I still suffer from the long marriage and the longer fight.  I wish that I could be set free from the co-parenting nightmare.  I have not been set free.  I have tried my hardest.  I have put my children first, in order to save them (as much as I could) from suffering.  I am sad to say that they are damaged by their NSP (Narcissistic, Sociopathic, Psychopathic) father.

I am sad to say that their relationship with me has been damaged by him, and I am afraid it is irreparable.

"Oh, NO!" You want to say!  "It is NOT irreparable! There is always hope!  Good will prevail!"

I am afraid not.  Why do I say this?  Because as a child, I lived the constant onslaught an undermining by a personality disordered parent.  Permanent Harm.  But, alas, that is a different blog post, or a different blog.

This article: What It's Like To Suffer From PTSD Post-Divorce by Cathy Meyer
At the end of the article, she writes "...the only way to win over someone who wants you to suffer is to give up the fight. Let it go, your health is more important.”

Yes!  In order to get on with my life, preserve and recover my health, and not cause additional harm to my children, I have to let it go.  I have to give up the fight.  And, sadly, that means, Let The Narcissist Win.  They always win.  

The Narcissist Loses + Everyone Involved Loses = (In His Mind) The Narcissist Has Won.  

That's what it's like for them.  

I mourn the loss of the life I was promised by him.  I mourn the loss of the time I should have, as a mother, to parent my children.  I mourn the unspoiled relationship I feel that I SHOULD HAVE HAD with my children.  But, it IS spoiled.  It IS ruined.  And I find that they more I attempt to strengthen and repair it, the deeper a hole I find myself in.  

Cathy Meyer doesn't explain how to let it go.  I'm not sure what she means.  I know that for me, "letting go" means turning away from my children.  Sound awful?  Yeah, me too.  I think it's AWFUL. 

Here's what I mean: 

My kids come home and they CLING to me.  They are by my side like little goslings.  Bless their hearts.  They cling to me in order to recover from the nonsense they experience at their father's house.  OK.  Great for them.  So, they cling to me and I absorb all the emotions and it sucks me down into a pit.  They recover and then BYE!  Off they go again into the land of Daddy.  And they live.  And they get on with their lives and I am left, bereft.  This cycle repeats endlessly.  And it doesn't work for me. 

Do you know why it doesn't work for me?  MY HEALTH.  MY LIFE.  

When they are here, they are EVERYTHING.  100% devotion and attention.  Mom completely available.  I keep their heads above water.  

Then, they leave.  I have NOTHING.  I have zero continuity between custody and non-custody periods.  I sink and nearly drown. 

How does Daddy do it?  Well, Daddy IGNORES the kids when they are with him.  He has his proxy care-givers do the work for him.  The kids are on their own, relying on the mothering I have given them while in MY care.  (My children have told me this.  They do what I would tell them to do.  No one tells them what to do.  They must act as little adults.  For this they are praised, or rather, FLATTERED by their father for their 'independence' and 'self-sufficiency'.) 

So, I knock myself out being 100% mom non-stop when they are with me.  It isn't sustainable. How do I know it's not sustainable?  Because I've been doing it a long long long time and I am OFFICIALLY OVER IT.  It is killing me.  I can not do it anymore.

The Narcissist Always Wins.  

Can anyone relate to this?  Has anyone lived this scenario?  Has anyone dealt with it in a successful way?  

I find it maddening.  Angry.  Crazy-Making.  Resentful.  Sad.  

"Giving up" and "Letting go"  doesn't seem good for my children.  It isn't good for me.  But I don't see any other way to continue on.   I see them floundering and breaking.  I feel sorry for myself.  I see no solution.  

Filled with regret.  

So, I give up the fight?  Focus on myself?  Focus on my health, my strength, my happiness?  Get on with my life?  Turn my attention away from my children?  Live more like the Narcissist/Psychopath does?  I don't get it.  

I have been his victim since the moment we met.  Now our children are his victims.  I can untangle myself.  I lose them in the process, but, I think they are already lost.  I think they always were.  How sad.  Save myself?  

Save myself?  Because if I don't save myself, I can save nobody else?  Is that what it comes to?  

by AKA Rose Lee Mitchell

Friday, April 10, 2015

Silence is Golden: Extreme Limited Contact Allows For Peace

The NSP (Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath) wants engagement and I want peace.  

I want peace, I think, more than any other thing. More than money, or power, or beauty, or love.  When I lived with the abuser I forgot what peace was like.  Leaving the abuser didn't fix it, since we have children together; there were assets to divide, and because he saw me as His Property, he refused to let go.   

Extremely Limited Contact

Long stretches of time with No Contact teach me again how peaceful life can be.  I left him years ago.  Years later, I am still regaining my peace.  It has taken me years to regain a sense of the self and life I had before I met the NSP.  Before him, I had a life filled to the brim with autonomy, friends, money in the bank, career, freedom, heaps of beauty and health.  I appreciated my life, but I didn't understand how tenuous my position was.  I had no concept of evil.  I had never been taught how to defend myself from a predator, so I ignorantly felt rather bullet proof.  Once upon a time, I met the NSP and in many ways, it felt like a dream come true.  I married him.  I had children with him.  My life was dismantled by him.   I became a shadow of my former self.

Years later, I still do the work of reclaiming the Me-I-Used-To-Be before he began whittling me down to a wooden stub of a person.  Yes, it is alarming that it has takes so long to recover.  Yes, I am astonished.  Unfortunately, a long recovery seems to be very typical.

Regaining Peace  

At first, the simple fact that he was no longer  in my personal space came with such an atypical abundance of peace that I was in bliss.  Next came days with no contact, no emails, nothing.  Those days were like holidays.  I treasured them and reveled in the peacefulness, literally dancing around my home and singing with joy.  Imagine Julie Andrews singing on that mountain top in "The Sound of Music".  Sunlight, streaming in windows.  That was me, so happy to be free.  Mind you, all during the early years of my escape, I was still embroiled in his narcissistic/psychopathic battles over children and money.  He continued to do all the games that malignant narcissists (aka psychopaths) do, and these games (aka abuses) continued to do me great harm in every front.  

An Aside: It is worth mentioning that living with chronic stress is a real health hazard, and I have also suffered greatly in that regard.  I feel it is my duty to protect myself for a long and healthy future.  I'm like one of those old men you read about, who had a heart attack at 45, and remarkably still thrive at 85.  "How did you do it?" the interviewer asks.  "I gave up all forms of stress and conflict," the old man says.  That old man has become my mentor.  I will not rise to the bait.  My health is valuable.

Still - despite custody battles and imminent court dates and wasteful mediations and threats of this-and-that, and his continued pleading for me to "come back to the marriage for the sake of the children"  - I had moments of peace.  These moments of peace built upon themselves to make a mountain of peace.  I guard that mountain like sacred ground. 

I have learned to guard my peace and privacy and space and time like a soldier.  I have a right to Peace.  No disordered person gets in here to wreak havoc in my world.  I shut the door.  I remove myself from the situation.  I will not participate.  

My own children learn their father's disordered ways.  I try to help them, to correct the damage, but I am only one person and my influence is limited to human mother, not God.  This is why I appreciate Al-Anon, where I can practice remembering that I am not in control, I am not all-powerful.

The cultural trend is to give the father equal time no matter his deficiency.  The custody evaluator identified the NSP as a narcissist, but it made no difference.  Stable home-life is not the trend.  Back and forth between houses and parents the children go; children are forced to cope with differing rules, routines and standards.  With a NSP as the co-parent, I am forced to pick up the pieces of the wreckage.  The NSP is a destroyer of all.  

I can not co-parent with a NSP . No one can.  If he wasn't disordered we would still be married, because why on earth would I want to be apart from my children?  I am apart from them because I could not LIVE with their father.  As in: I could not be alive with him.  He was killing me slowly.  He threatened my life repeatedly.  It was an unlivable situation.

I am free now.  

I am free of being married to him, but I do not have my liberty.

On Liberty

I fought my hardest to get the most custody I possibly could. With complete devotion, I tried to protect my children.  I learned the hard lesson that I am not in control.  Not in control of my own life, my right to mother my own children, my own privacy, my own time.  

Look up the word "liberty".  I don't have liberty.  I married an NSP and had I children with him.  I can make a really good argument for using a sperm donor.  

Women married to normal men think they have some control and power.  No they don't.  They have a stable life that makes it appear that they have control and power over their lives.

Get the law involved.  Have the sheriff come and serve papers.  Get lawyers to subpoena medical records and friends' and relatives' testimonies. Custody evaluations, drug tests and Child Protective Services will teach you some lessons about freedom and liberty.

Then, tell me how you feel about the existence of your own power.

We live in a community.  A culture.  We are of our community and culture.  We are not separate.  Our community and culture dictate how life will go. 

I have limited power.  I have limited rights.  I have learned the hard way.

I used to live in a bubble: a glossy, shiny, non-poor educated white woman bubble.  My understanding of fairness and justice was limited, immature and untested.  I had never been on the wrong side of power.  Not really.  

I have been liberated from my cluelessness.

I am at peace now.  I don't thrash about with indignant rage and bitterness.  I know the reality.  I have been to the battered women's shelter.  I have been to the courthouse.  I have dailed 911 for protection from my abuser.  The police have been on my doorstep too many times.  They have been kind and professional, but never able to do much of anything.  How about the time the sheriff knocked on my door and served me with papers that accused me of being an unfit mother.  He said to me with sympathetic eyes, "Darlin', just because it's written down, doesn't mean it's true."  

The community and culture will decide fate if the parties can not agree.  My children are out of my custody far too often, but it is the culturally approved standard. The community and culture decided this was the right way, the best way.

It is not the best.  It is not right.

I can do very little.  

Doing nothing is actually my best choice.  Best for me.  Best for my children.  

I could run myself into the ground emotionally and financially.  I did that for a while.  I quit because it was worse than fruitless; it worsened our lives. So, I deal with what I have, a custody situation that sucks.  Sucks!  I dislike it.  My kids dislike it.  But the NSP wants it.  So, we have it.  Okay.

Silence is Golden

If I can not have my kids full-time, and this is my life, well, then, I need to enjoy my life.  I need to love my life.  

When my out-of-control children are demonstrating their hatred of the custody situation, I hold onto them without holding onto their pain.  Holding onto their pain only makes me sick. It helps no one.  I shut my door at times.  Focus on the disordered psycho bully makes a person sick.  We look elsewhere. 

My children get older.  They have their own lives. They are big.  I can not carry them very far, nor do I need to.  They have resources.  If I carry them when they can walk, it destroys me.  I engage with their father and it destroys my peace.  

I stay silent with their father as much as possible.  I focus elsewhere instead of focused on him.  He is sick and always will be.  My children benefit most from having a strong and happy mother, with strong boundaries, strong in herself, with friendships and successes they can see.  

I stay silent with their father and my life returns.  Happiness returns.  Hope returns.

Silence is Golden.

Silence is Golden.

Silence is Golden and I have become greedy for more.

by AKA Rose Lee Mitchell

Excellent Read

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Burden of Having Children with a Psychopath

The Temptation to Engage with The Psychopath

I am often tempted to engage with the NSP (Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath) by checking email.  I have no reason to check email from him.  I resist the temptation.  I get a rush from the insults and the nonsense.  It is familiar and consuming.  It charges me up. 

It’s wrong to engage myself in the fight. I follow extremely-low-contact policies and procedures as a buffer, because there is ONLY a fight with an NSP.  It’s a fight in which everyone loses, including the NSP.  The NSP is so disordered that he would rather everyone lose, than everyone win.  Yeah, like that.      

Shared custody complicates life tremendously for any of us who have left an NSP.  We can’t get away.   Sometimes we must cooperate and compromise.  This is why I have developed protocols to keep myself safe.  It’s emotional hygiene. 

Sometimes I need to break my own rules. Like, I will talk to him on the phone.  Oh so rarely.  Here’s why: he knows the rules of my game, so he tries to use my rules against me, to complicate matters.  Sometimes I step outside my rules to get sh*t done.  It’s just what is required, as a parent.  And since I have my boundaries so strong, the walls so tall and fortified, I can step outside my safe zone and tangle with him.  Briefly.  For a purpose. 

It’s kinda like ripping off a band-aid quickly, just to get it over with.  Just have the conversation fast on the phone.  Get it done. Confirm details via email or text. 

It’s fine. 

He’s so knocked off balance by my blazing self-confidence that he’s got literally no idea what to do.  He’s shocked.  Sh*t gets done, and then I’m back on the hygiene horse of extreme low contact. 


The Burden of Shared Custody with a Psychopath

Someday this will all be over.  I don’t want to wish away my children’s childhood, especially since my time with them is already limited due to shared custody, but I must say what is super obvious, that:

It is an enormous and overwhelming burden to have children with a psychopath,


I love my children, wholly and completely, 


I live with that paradox every minute of my life. 

I have paid a heavy price by this forever-forced connection to my abuser through my children.  Had I not had children with him, I would have left him right away.  He did not show his psycho face in full until I was invested in full: married to him, vulnerable with tiny little babies and children underfoot. Trapped.

It isn’t just my suffering to consider.  My children suffer.  Needless suffering.  They have less than no father.  Their father is not fit to care for anyone, despite his shiny exterior, his advanced degrees, and his great big income.   

He looks good on paper. 

He can fool a target, for a while.   


---AKA Rose Lee Mitchell---

Art by Phoebe Baker
Title "Painted in Waterlogue"
used under creative commons license