Christmas Mix-up/Manipulation??

angelsDecember 24th. Christmas Eve. We have a crazy holiday schedule this year. Since this is our first Christmas under our parenting plan, we are still working out the bugs. He misunderstood our parenting plan. Then, rather than going back and reading his parenting plan, as I suggested, he tried to talk, or rather guilt, me into giving up my time with her because it was going to be hard on her to have to ride in the car for 30 minutes each way. Secretly, I agreed but it’s easier to go with the plan than to try to change anything with him, especially if I’m the one doing the asking. I texted him the following:

narcissist, sociopath, psychopath
Inside the mind of a con artist

2:11pm me: I know you must be disappointed but I already told her the plans. I think we should stick to the plan as it is written in the parenting plan. You’ll get her tomorrow at 6. Do you plan to bring her back as per the parenting plan?

Phil responds: “Disappointed has nothing to do with it. Any responsible caring parent would know how ridiculous it would be to subject a 4-year-old child to a 2 hr. car ride for a 1 hr. visit. If I made a mistake on the holiday schedule i will give up my new year to make up for it.

3:05pm me: “She’s expecting to come back tonight at 6 and to open presents tomorrow morning. I’ll see you at 6 tonight at [the usual pick up place].”

3:18pm He repeated his previous email. “Disappointed has nothing to do with it. Any responsible caring parent would know how ridiculous it would be to subject a 4-year-old child to a 2 hr. car ride for a 1 hr. visit. If I made a mistake on the holiday schedule i will give up my new year to make up for it.”

me: “I got that text twice. Will you be there at 6?”

4:14pm Phil: “As a caring parent the drive would be ridiculous. you can have new years. Her expecting to return is not valid. She has told me as well as the neighbors 3 different houses that she wants to stay here. Would you like to speak w/her about this? My preference is to keep this civil, mature, and responsible to Avery’s needs.”

4:35pm me: “You will bring her tonight at 6 or I will call the cops as you will be in violation of our court order. Please let me know what you want to do.”

He immediately replied. “I will go into town to get my copy of paperwork to confirm. I want to do what is best for Avery”

“Ok. Me too.”christmas design

5:19 Phil: “I am wrong about the schedule. Although placing Avery in the care again shows extreme disregard for her well being we are on the way.”

me: “Ok :)”

Some commentary: First of all, why didn’t he check his parenting plan as soon as I told him there was a problem? Because he thought I would cave in and give him what he wanted. Why does he keep his parenting plan at the office? Or does he? Did he know as soon as he got home and checked it then the rest was just trying to manipulate me?

I have her for New Year’s this year. He had no New Year’s days to give me.

>His quote: ‘any responsible, caring parent” implied that I’m NOT those things. Forcing her to the ‘ridiculous’ drive of 30 minutes. Well, it was a 30 minute drive last week when I had to drive her to his place but today it’s an hour each way, making it 2 hours… for a 1 hour visit. 2+1=3. Where’s the other hour? Around here, it’s rural. We drive an 30-45 minutes to get anywhere. I drive her 45 minutes when I take her to work with me then turn around and drive home. I don’t feel that’s ridiculous. He just didn’t want to be the one doing the driving, but he chose that before he moved. That wasn’t my decision.

She supposedly told neighbors at 3 different houses that she wanted to stay with him. How does that come up in

conversation while caroling at a neighbor’s house? I’m thinking he’s grossly exaggerating or he’s coached her to say this. She has told me that he doesn’t want her to talk to me. How does she know this? “He gives a mean look when I talk to you.”

Same situation if I speak to Avery while she’s at her Daddy’s house. She’s going to say what she knows he wants to hear. “I want to stay with Daddy.” Of course, when she’s here, it’s a different story. She won’t let me out of her sight. Talking to her on the phone would likely convince him that she wants to stay with him but it won’t convince me. I know the fear and the need to bow down to him.

“Her expecting to return is not valid.” What does that mean? Are her feelings not valid? Not to him. To him, only HIS feelings are valid. He needs her to give him narcissistic supply.

narcissists, psychopaths, sociopath
Fight fire with fire? 🙂

As soon as I mentioned calling the cops and didn’t back down, he started to back down. Then, he finally checked the schedule and brought her, though he still had to get in a few more jabs. He implied that I was showing an “extreme disregard for her well being” by having him fulfill his part of the parenting plan and drive the 30 minutes to bring her back. (I drive 10 minutes.) He was responsible for changing it if he didn’t see that it was going to work. I’ve found that it’s generally not worth it to try and change anything with him. He always wants more than is practical. I tried to keep it short and not give him any more supply than necessary.

My boyfriend, an ex-cop came with me. I hadn’t planned on them meeting yet. We’ve been dating for 6 months but I think my ex seeing him will only make him jealous and may make things worse. I’ve made the poor guy sit at a gas station while I deliver Avery a few times, just so I don’t stir up any trouble. He’s been very agreeable, but it’s time. There was no choice. I wanted someone with me after today’s problem, and he’s bigger than my ex. It went smoothly. Not a word was spoken to each other. I’m sure, had the bf not been there, Phil would have had something to say. Just another day when “co-parenting” (and I use the term loosely) with a narcissist/psychopath.

Why I Stayed

Even today, having been out for almost 2 years, I still find it hard to believe that I was played. He seemed so sincere. Even looking back over the last 2 years, he’d talk to me and tell me something and I totally believed him. I’m not naive. I’m not an idiot. Of course, by then, I knew not to believe it, even when I DID believe it. I’d wait it out, put off the decision or answer he was seeking. Inevitable, when I DID believe him, he was lying, or plotting something against me (like a lawsuit, for example). Now I know that when he is being nice, he is up to something. He’s either trying to get me to do something for him or he’s doing something bad to me. Now I know and I can almost always stay one step ahead of him because I know his games and his moves. I know what he will try because I know how he thinks in regards to what he can get and I know how to keep him from getting it. The truth, and proof of it, is my weapon. He triumphs in the grey areas, but loves black and white. He is an extremist that walks a fine line of breaking the law, just inches away from being caught. He breaks the parenting plan agreement by telling my daughter lies about me. (Mommy doesn’t love you. Mommy says she loves you then feeds you candy. Mommy doesn’t love you because Grandma didn’t hug her as a child and she can’t love you. Daddy took Mommy and Grandma to the cops. The list goes on.) He knows the parenting plan is hard to enforce because it’s hard to prove he has said these things. I know he said them. Our daughter knows. He knows. I know because he told me some of the things he’s now telling her when we were still together. She was only 2 at the time we separated. I never told these things to anyone. She’d have no way of knowing if he hadn’t told her. When my mother told me what my daughter had said, I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that he had in fact said them to her. A 4-year-old wouldn’t be able to make this stuff up. I couldn’t make it up. I try to remain neutral to her. I don’t want her to see that I’m upset by what she tells me. I don’t want her to stop talking about it and keep it in, or worse, wonder if I love her and if what her Daddy says is true. What kind of sick moron TRIES to cause emotional harm to the child that they profess to love more than anything? I believe he loves her, at least, as much as he is able, but how can he not see what he is doing to her?

After a local child welfare agency had been called after our physical altercation, and we were informed about it, he stated that the only people that could have called the agency were me or my mother. He went on to say, “Don’t you think whoever did this should be made to never do this again?” I asked what he meant by that. He never would say for sure. He always liked to keep up appearances of being a good guy in his own eyes. He liked to say without saying. but judging from the look in his eyes, I thought he meant that they should be murdered or severely beat up. I said, “No. If someone thinks we are doing harm to our child, I’m glad there’s someone out there looking out for her. We didn’t do anything wrong, so what’s to worry about?” I, of course, was worried, not that they would take her away from me, but that he would find out that I was the one who inadvertently caused this call to be made. I hadn’t made the call. It never even crossed my mind that it was relevant. Our daughter was not physically harmed, though I never dreamed she would have to go through something like that. I had reported it to someone who did, and it was NOT my mother. I went to the police. They sent me to talk to someone. So, it was my report that had caused the call to be made. And I was scared as hell when I had to tell him that they wanted to speak with us. He took it okay at first. As it festered, his anger grew. When I asked him “Who is going to make them never do it again?” He replied that he “knew people.” He had bragged about his late father’s possible mob connections. I’m assuming this is what he  was talking about. He mentioned again that the only people that could have said anything were me or my mother. Is he going to try to have me killed? If he never “wins” the custody that he wants, is that my “fate”? Was this a scare tactic all along?

But, how can I look into his eyes and still see the good after all of this? When I look at him, I see a poor, pathetic man with a wounded soul. I see pain and hurt. Not the pain that he has caused me but the pain that he lives in. I stayed for a long time because I saw his pain and I wanted to help him; and for a while, I did… some. I still feel sorry for him. I still try to spare his feelings. Not for the pain that he will undoubtably  cause me when he feels it and tries to get even and hurt me back, but for the pain that I know he is feeling. No amount of hatred can overcome that feeling of guilt. Guilt that I didn’t stay, that I couldn’t take it, that I abandoned him in his pain, even though he was causing me much pain and taking my soul. I chose to be with him and I abandoned him. And I’m glad I did. I feel really guilty about that.

I added the second paragraph a while after writing this article when I was reminded of an incident that I thought was a good example of his walking the line of saying anything that could be used against him. Grey area, I call it. I was struck by the contrast between that and the third paragraph that was part of the original blog post. (The part about my perception of his pain). This is perhaps the best explanation of why I have labeled this blog “Torn”. For years I felt torn between these two emotions, even before the last stages which were increasingly more fearful. Looking back, I remember the feelings of that day after child welfare services was called, and the 3-day-weekend I spent as his prisoner. But just moments before, I had been remembering the feelings of pity for the man I once loved.

Why We Fall for Narcissists and Psychopaths

The following comes from a website dedicated to helping the victims of both narcissists and psychopaths, I included this section of their welcome page because it summed up, in my mind, what I’ve been trying to express for so long. I felt stupid for falling for someone like this. When others said that they saw it in the beginning, it didn’t help to ease my wounded confidence on my ability to read people. The website has many helpful articles. I just discovered it myself. In a selfish way, it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who has fallen for it.

You met someone who was charming, talented and eloquent who most likely made you feel like a million bucks. And then, suddenly, at some point (usually beginning at the first moment you disagreed with him or her), you were made to feel like week-old garbage.

Hoping to restore the purity of that paradise you thought you were living in, you try everything you can think of to make it work, including closing your eyes and mind to the often vicious behavior of that person who is no longer the person you knew.  You just want the original person back; you believe that he or she is there, buried inside, behind some wall of hurt that only you can heal.  You may even see this original person from time to time, when you’ve had just enough to push you away for good – for just long enough to get you to stay and try again.

Little by little, you have to admit to yourself that what you are experiencing cannot be explained away by someone who is acting out of hurt; that what you are experiencing is just pure evil.

Charming, seductive and eloquent they are, and they use all those abilities when lying, manipulating and betraying. Psychopaths and narcissists can slash a path of human misery through lives of dozens, or hundreds, and even thousands, of people. They bring pain and suffering to nearly everyone they touch. And yet, somehow, they manage to convince their victims that it is they who are being wronged.

There is a reason for that: they actually do feel that they are victims because somewhere inside, they know that they are not like the majority of the human population, and this knowledge is coupled with a fundamental need to be in control, to be in charge. That they – a minority – cannot be in charge of the majority appears to them as a great injustice, one that they will fight to the death to right!

What you – a normal person – need now more than anything else is knowledge of what you are going through, or have been through, and an understanding of exactly what you are dealing with, in order to make sense of it all.

Psychopathy and narcissism are just two of several related and often overlapping conditions that afflict a portion of the population. These people are, effectively, human beings that are intraspecies predators; they look human, but they operate on a foundation that is more akin to that of an animal than a human.

Since all creatures seek survival, these pseudo-humans learn very early what behaviors get them what they want and need, including pretense to normal human emotions and empathy. Many of them can maintain this pretense – this “Mask of Sanity” – for a very long time; others let the mask slip sooner, or more often.

Learn how to deal with narcissists and psychopaths

What they want varies by individual, but the most persistent need seems to be control and those things that give them control. For the brighter members of this taxon (for that is what it surely is), that means power and money; for the lazier and less driven members, it can mean other things: control over a spouse, children, a family, or the maintenance of a parasitic lifestyle at your expense. In extreme cases, this urge for control can be expressed in murder.” From:

sociopath, narcissist
A look inside the (scary) mind of a narcissist/sociopath.

My ex was over-the-top in the beginning on everything positive and loving. It was hard not to fall for him. He made big promises of “love that songs are written about”, love that is better than other peoples’, lives that are superior to others, yada, yada, yada. It sounded good in the beginning. I think I always knew there was something off but it felt too good to let go just because of a feeling. Seemed there was no “reason” to end it, just a feeling that it was “off”. I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure it out. He has always been over-enthusiastic about things he was involved with since I’ve known him. His profession, his motorcycle, his chosen style of healthy eating, etc. I’m sure you can relate with your own stories. Please share them!

Narcissism Defined

Narcissism Defined

Narcissism Defined
Narcissism Defined

Narcissism can be described as excessive preoccupation with one’s self and lack of empathy for others. The narcissistic personality tends to exaggerate his/her own importance and abilities. People with these characteristics believe themselves to be highly gifted and often engage in delusions of success, fame and/or power. Narcissists are often arrogant. They don’t hesitate to ask and expect special favors from others. Counter-intuitively, these individuals are often insecure and in reality have very low self-esteem. They require frequent admiration from others and find it very difficult to cope with criticism. Adversity or criticism may cause the narcissistic person to either attack in anger or isolate himself from that person. Narcissists cannot handle failure and therefore often avoid risks and situations in which failure is possible.

Another common trait of narcissists is jealousy of others (family members, spouse or spouses family members, friends, most often those that the narcissist is closest to). The narcissist is self-absorbed and lacks empathy for others. They expect others to be devoted to them but have no desire to reciprocate. Narcissistic people often enter into relationships based on what other people can do for them.

It is common for persons with this disorder to compare themselves to famous people of achievement and to express surprise when others do not make the same judgments. They feel entitled to great praise, attention, and special treatment by others, and have difficulty understanding or acknowledging the needs of others. They envy others and imagine that others are envious of them. The person with narcissistic personality disorder has no patience for others, and quickly strays from situations where he or she is not the center of attention and conversation. This attention from others is referred to as narcissistic supply and may be positive (praise or a compliment made to him)or negative (a fight with a spouse). Either are acceptable forms of attention. He may use his spouse, children, siblings, friends, etc. for narcissistic supply. Others are often confused by sudden outbursts of anger or attacks to their character, not understanding where they came from. Inwardly, the narcissist needs attention (whether positive or negative) and any confrontation will do, therefore fights over trivial matters are sure to ensue. If you are involved with someone you believe to be a narcissist, please read as much as you can on the subject to empower you for the battles to come. If it is practical to leave this person, it is usually considered best to do so. If it is a family member, read as much as you can on protecting yourself and not engaging, and therefore becoming a source of narcissistic supply for the narcissist. Narcissists tend to feed off of others and have been referred to as “vampires” by some. Having lived with one for many years, I can speak to the truth of this feeling. (See blog posts) Best of luck!!

Narcissism Defined Narcissism Defined Narcissism Defined

Co-parenting with a Narcissist or Psychopath

Co-parenting with a Narcissist or Psychopath

Co-parenting with a Narcissist or Psychopath
Co-parenting with a Narcissist or Psychopath

Co-parenting with a narcissist or psychopath is never easy! The challenges of dealing with a sociopathic narcissist are never-ending. I often wonder how a father (or mother) cannot see that he is harming his child by his comments. Yesterday, in front of a friend, my daughter (4 years old) said “Mommy, Daddy says he took you and Grandma somewhere? Did he?”

“What do you mean? Where?”

“Like, to the cops? He said he took you and Grandma to the cops. Did he?”

“No, he didn’t.”

“Well, he SAID he did.”

“He didn’t.”

“He’s a liar! Tell him he’s a liar! He’s lying, isn’t he?!”

“Well, he’s not telling the truth if that’s what he told you.”

I explained that it would not help to talk to him about it. What I didn’t tell her was, if I tell him, it’s most likely going to fall back on her. He’s most likely going to say something like, “Raya, why did you tell Mommy that I said ______________ ?” and then brain-wash her until she says SHE was lying about saying it. I’ve seen this happen before when I confront him about something he has said. It’s sickening. She doesn’t see that coming. It’s been a long time, over a year, since I’ve been naive enough to confront him on anything he’s said.  Having known him for years, I can almost predict his reactions. I’m not going to put her through that, especially since it won’t help anything but will instead give him narcissistic supply. He uses our daughter for narcissistic supply regularly.

Her father will not communicate about what happens at his house. If she’s sick, he doesn’t tell me. He took her to the doctor before and didn’t tell me. I caught wind by accident and had to go in and fill out paperwork so that her records could be released to me so that I would know what he had taken her in for and what was wrong with her. This was of course, before the final divorce order so there was nothing stating that he had to inform me of trips to the doctor, etc. If he does it now, he’ll be in contempt of court, not that that means much, at least in this state.

narcissist, psychopath, sociopath
Co-Parenting Help: 

Co-parenting with a Narcissist or Psychopath

Last week, my daughter told me that she had been vomiting at her Daddy’s house. I asked him about it by text. He did verify that she was sick. He said she said her belly hurt when he picked her up and vomited that night and two nights later. “That’s why I sent the juice and applesauce with her.” I wondered why he handed me juice and applesauce when I picked her up, but he said nothing about her being sick. I am so frustrated!! How can we co-parent if I have no idea that she has even been sick on the 5 days that he has her!? The court system fails people in my situation and it is so frustrating! (Please visit One Mom’s Battle for a letter that you can send to your representative! Every letter helps!) If Raya has ever been sick, according to Phil, she always has it when he picks her up. Apparently she can’t get sick at his house. He has a germ-free environment there. You can’t get sick if you isolate yourself and your family from society forever, and there are no germs at his church or library. I’m being sarcastic of course. And, yes, in my opinion, he uses church as a mask and a source of narcissistic supply. Anyone have a solution?

In the Beginning

flowersOur relationship was always up and down. VERY “up and down”. When I first saw my ex, Phil, (all names have been changed for privacy) I was attracted to his dark eyes and hair, tall, athletic build, and his confident demeanor. However, within that same first impression, I could see that he was downright arrogant. He seemed completely unaware of others, other than how they might revere him. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of a lifelong relationship with the man.

It all began when his friend, Jason, seemed to take an interest in me. He would find ways to chat with me in the halls of our school. (We were in grad school at the time.) When our school’s big homecoming event came up, he invited me to a “big party at Phil’s”. It wasn’t a big party at all, just a group of maybe four older graduates that had come to visit for the homecoming weekend.

My relationship with Jason was normal, nothing out of the ordinary. He was a very kind man. We would sometime double date with Phil and his girlfriend, Melissa. She was a nice girl about my age, about 22 at the time. One instance in particular stands out in my mind. We were all going to meet at Phil’s and go out to dinner together. Jason, Melissa and I were there waiting for him. He always left the door open, so we waited inside. Hours later, still no Phil. Melissa and I chatted while Jason took a nap. Hours later, Melissa said that she was pretty angry at Phil for being so late and not calling. She asked if I would be angry if I was in her shoes. I agreed that I too would have been angry. Finally, Phil comes stumbling in about midnight, obviously drunk. He had been out drinking with a buddy from the military, obviously not concerned that we were sitting there waiting for him for hours. No trouble. He hadn’t forgotten. He apparently didn’t care.

When Melissa saw him, she asked where he had been, etc. and she said she was going to go home. Obviously, at this point, we were just waiting to be sure that he made it home and when she saw that he was safe, she got up to leave. They walked outside and I’m assuming had a rather heated argument about how he should have called, etc. When he came back in, he was furious. He yelled at me, “Thanks a lot! Why did you tell her that you would be mad too!” I left feeling guilty. This was my first experience of is projecting blame. Never did he apologize to us for being hours late and not calling. This was the second red flag that I missed. I blamed it on the alcohol. The first red flag was the obvious cocky attitude.

He, on several occasions, bragged that everyone at school knew who he was and he didn’t know anyone, implying that he had a good reputation for being so adept at martial arts and everyone else were just peons. He mentioned on several occasions his martial arts training and how grueling it was, and how people always underestimated his strength for his size. He was about 5’11, 145 pounds and self-reportedly, very strong. He was an extremist, which would show up again and again in his life with me… with his (supposed) martial arts training, his overzealousness for his chosen profession (which he didn’t end up finishing), and his child rearing over-protectiveness.

Why I started this blog…

I often wonder why I even married my ex. I hope, through this blog, I’ll find resolution. I hope mostly that I can help others who are in difficult relationships, or even those that haven’t yet become that way. I hope that I can keep others from making the same mistakes I did, and if I can save just one from that life of misery, I’ll consider this endeavor a success.