Monday, October 24, 2016

Resist The Urge To Engage

You share custody with your ex.  You've done this for years.

You are a normal human being.

He is not.  He is a NSP (narcissist, sociopath, psychopath).

Even though you know he is abnormal, you still want to relate to the NSP in a normal way. But, you don't.

You know better.  You learned the hard way.

Your instinct is to fill him in on how things are going with your kids.  You don't.

Any bit of information he gets will be used against you.  It will be twisted. Your good deed, your impulse to share, to fill him in on what's been happening, for your kids' sake, for everyone's benefit ---- no no no no no no.  It doesn't go right.  It doesn't go right, because he is not right.  He is disordered, abnormal, and unfixable.

He is disordered, abnormal, and unfixable.

You learned this in the marriage.  This is why you left.

You tried to communicate with him for years.  You endured word salad, lies, rages.

After you left him, you endured the custody battle.

You endured the seemingly endless email rants, so similar to the endless rants you experienced face to face while you were married.

You have endured all the nonsense.

You would like to share the news about your children with their father, but their father is a psychopath.  He wants to cause you harm.

The less you engage, the better for you - and the better for your children too.


Be Well,

AKA Rose Lee Mitchell



  1. I so 'get' this advice to do not engage, but I've yet to find the balance between adequate engagement to demonstrate to a judge that you are the better communicator, fostering of the relationship (yep, to defend against an abuser's relentless allegations of alienation)….and disengagement - which is what I would like.
    I feel trapped by this. I want to not give a crap what a judge thinks, but I cannot give up the fight for what is right for the kids. I couldn't face myself if I did :(

    1. Hi. Thanks for writing. I'm am so sorry you have to deal with this nonsense.

      Here's the hard truth, as I currently see it (and this deserves a post of its own...)

      Unfortunately, dealing with a NSP requires a lot of STRATEGY.

      When we are in the midst of interacting with judges (actual judges in a court setting - or any type of judge, in the form of mediators, custody evaluators, social workers, pediatricians, etc), we have to participate in a way that we might not otherwise bother - since it's a waste of our time. There is too much 'secret code' conversation coming from the abuser, and only we can see it. There is too much nonsense to filter through. Too many lies to defend ourselves from. Too much to explain, correct, etc. You know.

      And, when the NSP is highly intelligent, highly 'respected/respectable', the NSP will always win. Always. Somehow the lies (told by the NSP) are more compelling than the truth (told by the target).

      I personally keep one eye on some future where 'someone' might review my communication with the NSP, but mostly, I have learned that NOBODY GIVES A SH-T about me, the NSP, or our children. As mothers, we like to think that there will be some Savior who Gets It and Helps Us and Our Children, who Delivers Us From This Tragic Union With The Psychopath. I have never ever found this to be the case (with the exception of some friends - who hold zero power to effect change in the situation). Most people are just trying to get through the day, get their paycheck and get home to their James/pets/wine/netflix. This goes for Lawyers, Judges, Social Workers, Therapists, Teachers, Pediatricians.

      I have slowly learned that nobody gives a crap. They may have some compassion for us, a listening ear, but no change will come of it. Kindness and Prayer will keep us afloat. Reading websites (like this one) will help us navigate the strange path we wander -- I read websites like this VORACIOUSLY before and during and after leaving the NSP, desperate for some sort of sense-making. No meaningful outward change, like a custody evaluation that rights the wrong, has ever come. No therapist has ever made any concrete improvement in my life or my childrens' lives. We soldier on, victim to the psychopath's whim and treachery. Too dramatic, you say? No. Not too dramatic. Accurate. If you have lived it, you know.


      I wasted so many years of my life SPINNING from the psychopath influence in my life. I wish I could say that I have stopped SPINNING. But I have not. I do my best, but my life is still dominated by him, and in many ways - destroyed - by my inability to escape him BECAUSE HE IS THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN.

      I don't waste much time or energy on documentation, or tending to the nonsense waste of communication word salad cognitive dissonant bs that the NSP serves up. Mostly I blatantly ignore.

      Also, my 'fight for what is right for the kids' never ever panned out. The NSP is living the dream life as the Great White Male who does no wrong. A lot like Donald Trump. He can be the most repulsive offensive asshat in the universe, but he prevails because of privilege. Who am I? I am only The Mother, The Woman.

      I am sorry that this is a downer. But IT IS THE TRUTH that I have experienced thus far, in my long and wasted fight...

      Keep up your fight if you have it in you, if you are compelled, if your gut tells you to fight. Do that. Your circumstance may require it. I felt required and compelled when my kids were much younger than they are now, when they were more vulnerable, when I was less experienced in the ways of the legal system and the ways of the world.

      Yes, you feel trapped. I feel trapped. I believe we absolutely are trapped. And we have to do the best we can in our circumstance.