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


  1. Things must be adjusted, and your children will love you anyway. Make small changes to take care of yourself. ASK them for input and ideas about what can be done to work together as a TEAM. Make sure they know you are not turning your back on them, but you need their help.

    1. Thank you for your gentle support. I appreciate it.

      I hope our words can help other people who walk a similar path.


  2. I so agree with GeneticPsycho (great name btw) and love those ideas. What you are doing for your kids is beautiful in giving them at least one place on this earth where they can feel emotionally safe and nurtured - consistently.

    Now.... you need someone to nurture you. One of my counsellors told me to lie down on the earth, and just cry, and let the earth support me in a beautiful place. Still have yet to try that....but sounds like a bit of a cathartic release opportunity. Since my ex basically isolated me in the marriage and my friendships from it were shallow (they didn't want to believe he was THAT abusive, and he is a PR Specialist), I lost all deep social connections, and he moved me across the country away from my family. Hence the advice to lie down on the earth since I didn't have a close friend or family member upon whose shoulder to cry.

    Honestly, I was afraid when I started reading that you were going to say that the children had turned against you. Yes, he is poisoning their spirit, but he cannot and will not poison the childrens' love for you and vice versa - and all of your efforts are paying off in that regard. They are getting the gift of unconditional love. And one day, that solid bond with you may be able to set them free if they choose to live with you full time when they are old enough to choose. My children cling when they come home from just EOW (and yes I am so grateful that it is not 50/50 right now and I could not imagine the nightmare of that). I still have endless sleep deprivation and a sore back from still carrying my almost 4 yr around the house because she NEEDS physical contact, while I NEED to get some stuff done (albeit one handed). I waste my whole every other weekend recovering, and researching case law to try to figure out how to maintain this status quo once our orders are up for review again as he makes court threat after court threat over every little piddly thing - I've been riding a series of interim orders, riding on the coattails of financial incentives to keep it out of court for him. But I am grateful - he is in full on Disney Dad mode, grooming and generally not too neglectful in obvious ways. They are giving him status and supply. All the effort I put into their upbringing and he reaps the benefit. He has cute kids that look good on him in public...but who is behind the scenes enabling all that?

    You are an amazing writer Rose Lee, and it sounds like you are an amazing mom. I wish I could send the Soul Feeding Fairy to clean your house, take care of everything, while you spend your off weeks at spas, retreats, yoga on beach, good friends, wine, food and endless endless fun (or whatever nourishes YOU) to fill your cup.

  3. I am so so sorry. I have friends in this same situation and it is a NIGHTMARE! My situation is a little different in that my P ex has no custody. That came at a horrible horrible cost. He admitted to sexually abusing our daughter (who was 2 years old at the time). He is a sexual predator (not a pediphile, I learned in a short two hour period one evening that his sexual escapades ran the gamut from men, prostitutes, crossdressing, abusing our own dogs, etc, he's completely sick in the head, but Oh so good at pretending to be Mr. Nice Guy with a 5 year professional college degree to the rest of the world!). Our daughter is now 12 and has been diagnosed with a rare anxiety disorder. She is no longer able to attend school and I am homeschooling her (I have 100% custody of all three of our children). I have never remarried. I am terrified of ending up with a "pretender predator" again and though it is difficult, I at least know we are "safe". Even though my kids and I do not have to see my ex now (although he threatens now and then to go for custody, typical P drama) he has damaged them and me in so many ways. My daughter's abuse was 10 years ago (possibly less, the police detective told me not to believe a word he said), but it is like it happened yesterday. It makes me crazy mad when I think about what he has done to destroy us!

    And the worst part is that because he abused her in another state from when he confessed, he wasn't charged. There wasn't enough "evidence" to convict this monster even though the Police Department have a 45 minute taped confession of him. It still floors me and ex P emailed me this summer to let me know because he wasn't charged, he has done "nothing wrong" and can get custody if he wanted. Fortunately the social worker told me a subpoena would open the evidence and he would be denied. Ex P also let me know that a friend at work let him watch his 4 year old son alone for hours one day...without a conviction, no one knows!! It disgusts me to no end. However reading about Psychopaths, it now doesn't surprise me that he got away and will re offend if he hasn't already. Psychopaths are often sexual predators. I truly hope that your ex is not one of those and that your kids are safe from at least that type of abuse (not one abuse is worse than the other, my ex abused using all three types). Again, I am so sorry and you are not alone in feeling that your life has been ruined by an ex P. I try to remind myself that through the grace of God my children will end up OK someday.

  4. How is it going since you wrote this?? I am struggling with co parenting with a sociopath/narcissistic n found this article. When I read about you being devastated every other weekend, it was if I wrote this. He does nothing to raise him, yet takes all of the credit all the while telling me I'm terrible. My love has never wavered since the day I peed on a positive pregnancy stick. I did every single thing I could, ALONE albeit!, and still give all of Me. To be told I need to act in the child's best interest is not only a slap in the face, but grossly inaccurate, extremely low, and thinking quite highly of yourself isn't he?? Then I remember he thrives on conflict and my anger and disapproval is what he's chomping at the bit for.

    Parenting with him with an absolute nightmare. In every situation he's the poor victim. Ohhhh. Wahhhh. I cannot believe I legally have 15 more years of his bs. I hope that 15 years is somehow miraculously alleviated in my favor. Good luck and god bless. You're not alone. <3