Posts from the ‘co-parenting’ category

My ex has a picture of Medusa set as my caller ID photo on his phone. Still. We’ve been apart 5 years now and that man still cares so much about me he has a picture set up for my caller ID.

How sweet

My 11 year old has told me on a few occasions that it bothers her to see it on his phone. I don’t blame her. That’s her mom. She used his phone last week to place a phone call to me and came home grumbling her dad “still has Medusa as your photo, mom.”

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Is that a behavior an ex should participate in knowing full-well his kids see the pic? No. Do I care about the picture or the names he and his wife call me? Uh, no again. Do I care about how all of this affects my kids? Hell yes, I do. 

Let’s cut to the chase, here. The truth about people like my ex always appears. They can’t hide it forever.

If you’re so angry at the mother of your 4 children that you have Medusa as her caller ID (after 5 years) and you allow your children to know that, you have issues. 

If your 11 year old daughter tells you she wants to be with her step-dad on his birthday, and instead of being supportive, you confront her and tell her “do you know not one of my kids wished me a happy birthday on my birthday,” you must realize that you’re plotting her one father against the other and putting her in the middle. That’s a selfish way to interact with your daughter. 

If you insist in submitting paperwork to the court saying your ex wife is vindictive and obsessed with you because she has an anonymous blog about overcoming a controlling relationship with a narcissist and you want her to stop blogging, well, didn’t you just prove you’re indeed acting like a controlling narcissist?

I say it’s time that people grow up and move on. Perhaps then I won’t have tons and tons of stories to blog about on how to overcome a relationship with a controlling narcissist.

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saveIt baffles me how someone cannot see how they are affecting their life (the downs, typically) by choosing to act in a certain way. It seems crazy to me when someone can look you straight in the face and blame you for their issues, their hate for something, their unhappiness and anger inside.

Even more baffling than that is how that individual will try to “punish” you in some way in order to make you see the “error of your ways.”

I’ve seen this type of person in action all over the place–my ex, my children, a co-worker, a manager. Some people don’t live in this personality all of the time and others do.

So how do you help someone see that they aren’t taking accountability for the issues they create?

Accountability: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions

Truth is: I don’t know if you can.

My ex is still trying to take me to court over my publishing of this blog. He blames this blog for the issues he has with his children. He says they read it and he doesn’t have a relationship with our sons because of what I write. That breaks my heart. (incidentally, my blog is blocked on my computers at home, and my children would never be able to find this blog because there is no identity attached to this blog other than my first name–this was done for a reason–I want to protect them!) No matter what my past was with this man, my children don’t need to know about all of the pain I experienced in our marriage (or after our marriage) that was caused by him.

I’m still upset that my children found out the reason he had to leave our home was because he was involved with a neighbor. The boys found a camera with photos of the two of them on dates. My oldest son read my ex’s texts to her over my ex’s shoulder one night when the kids were visiting him. My son called me immediately from the bathroom to explain to me what he saw because he was so hurt. The children found out about their relationship because he was irresponsible.

IF my children have an issue with their father, it is because of his interactions with them…not my interactions with them.

That makes me sad.

(Now that my ex reads my blog, I find myself thinking before I type–I never used to. I used to process and write and pour my heart out onto the keys of my keyboard as a way of healing and helping others. I commit to keep doing that.)

So why am I writing today? I wish my ex could see what he’s doing. As the quote above states, I wish I could tell him to simply stand up. My ex’s love towards our children is conditional. For instance, he’s been fighting with our 16 year old and didn’t even try to contact him or send him a gift or card on his birthday. He wrote on his Facebook wall. That’s all. Our son said it doesn’t bother him, but I know it does–he’s struggling lately. At school. Emotionally. Whatever their issues between them, a father should reach out to his son on his birthday.

If only he could just swallow his pride and love our children unconditionally…

The latest battle I’m facing is that my ex has not paid his child support that was due nearly two weeks ago. He’s never been this late before. I texted him last week to remind him that he is late in paying and asked him to send it home with my daughter that evening. He didn’t. Instead, a few days later, he brought boxes of our boys’ things over to my house and left them on the porch, because the boys don’t want to go stay at his house any more. No explanation…just boxes.

I’m sure he’s blaming me for something and using the child support as leverage. Who really knows. But it’s hurting the children. He’s putting them in the middle. How? That money is used for groceries in our house. It’s been budgeted that way for some time now. And to all of a sudden not pay child support takes (in an indirect way) food out of our children’s mouths.

We are fine, and yes there is still food in the cupboards, and I realize there are parents who don’t see a dime of child support who probably think I’m crazy for voicing an opinion about someone being 2 weeks late in paying. (Sincerely, my heart goes out to those of you who do it on your own. You have my respect and so much more!) But digging his heels in and not being accountable for this is not how he can “get back” at me.

I wish I could tell my ex to just “stand up” and save himself from drowning, but he would never listen to me.

If he would listen to me (and, hey, I guess he’s reading this so I’ll put it out there anyways), I would say:

Your children need you to love them no matter what. No matter if they have long hippie hair. No matter if they don’t make the team. No matter if they aren’t a starter or a straight A student or if they remember to call you after games or not. They need unconditional love and support and sincerity and humility. That is what they need. Sometimes, as a parent, you put your pride aside and love your child–even when their choices are wrong or not up to your standards.

I will never understand how someone cannot see how their actions affect their own life, and perhaps I never will.

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I’m a little bit behind when it comes to becoming addicted to the popular TV series out there. Last year, we registered for Amazon Prime (hello, this is truly a Godsend to a working mother of 8!). Along with subscribing to auto-deliveries of toilet paper, toothbrushes and deodorant, we get Amazon Video–heavenly when nothing good is on TV. After subscribing, I quickly saw what all of the hype was with Downton Abbey (only 4 years late). Once I devoured the series in a few months, I was on the lookout for another fun series to watch while I was on the treadmill.

As I was sweating away, staring out the window at the gym, I happened upon Big Love. I’m a gal who is born and raised in Utah, and although I’m not a “typical” Utah girl, this series seemed intriguing to me. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the whole polygamy thing (I am sooooo not into sharing), but I was interested in watching the series because of the slight mentions about the Mormon church. So I tried watching the first episode. Aside from the it-really-doesn’t-need-to-be-in-there-so-much sex scene, the show is quite addictive.

The relationships between the sister-wives is intriguing to me. I could never share my husband with someone, but they can. (Let’s face it, the drama is too funny and it’s what keeps us coming back for more)

After being a few episodes in, Brandon’s kids came over for the weekend (as they do every other week). I was playing with our 3 year old and he was telling me about his mom and how they were going to maybe get a new house soon. I was excited for them. What a good feeling that must be for both him and her. “That will be so great!” I exclaimed.

I’m a firm believer that their moms are their moms, and I could never replace them in any way. But I’m also a firm believer that we have a connection that other people don’t. In a way (okay, maybe a strange, far-off way) I’m somewhat married to his exes as well. I listen to their children talk about their lives with their mom’s. I see them at events and when we transition from Mom-time to Dad-time. We are connected this way, and will be for the rest of our lives. Weddings, babies, graduations…we have a lot of events in our futures.

When I meet our 3 year old’s mom on Saturdays, it’s friendly and nice. I always tell him, “Say love you mom and see you Sunday.” Then I turn to her and tell her, “Have a good day at work.” I need to be supportive of her. It’s what’s best for our son. Yes, our son. She’s raising my son, and he loves her as much as he loves me.

As a single mom, I know how hard it is day-in and day-out. I know she tries her best. And I know she trusts me with our son. One day, out of the blue, she sent me a text that said “I was talking to {son} today and he brought you up. I just want to tell you I’m grateful for your help in raising him.” I melted. She didn’t have to do that. She could be bitter and hate me and talk badly to our son about me and turn him against me. But she doesn’t. We’ve both chosen the high road. And he’s better off because we have.

When I married Brandon, the mother of Brandon’s 3 older children wrote on my daughter’s Instagram photo of the wedding ‘Beautiful dress, Lori. Congratulations to you two.’ After being divorced from Brandon for over 10 years, she knows that welcoming a new mother into her kids life takes courage and love.

When my ex married his new wife, I couldn’t have been happier. She’s been nice and accepting of my kids. She’s spoken to me when my ex won’t. She’s raising my children, too. With every part of me, I’m thankful for the love she shows to them. We, too, have a connection that will last forever–our kids. It isn’t easy sharing your kids and having time away from them, but this woman is the best woman my ex could have ever chosen.

All of these women, are in a way, my sister-wives. No, I don’t share a husband with them, but I do share their/our children. I’m lucky. Each of these women love openly, like I do. Each one works hard for their kids and each one is a believer in raising good children.

If I have to be ‘married’ to multiple people, I guess this is how it’s done.

*image HBO

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Over the past few years of my life, I’ve learned to maneuver and grow post-divorce. Some days have been easy. Other days, not so much. Writing, reading, and focusing on myself has given me strength and opened doors for me that I never imagined possible. I’ve met wonderful people, received strength and support, and share my thoughts and life with others as inspiration or simply for an “I’ve been there.”

I did the work. I spoke to a counselor and was sure to look inside so I didn’t repeat the same mistakes moving forward that I did in my childhood and during my first marriage. I’ve read tons about narcissism and NPD personalities, and I’ve now learned how to stand up for myself.

As a child, I tried to please everyone around me. One of those people was my mother. As I grew, I noticed that she eventually began attaching herself to my life more and more. It wasn’t until after my divorce that I had the guts to let her know that I needed her to work on her own life rather than depend so deeply on me for happiness. I wasted many, many years trying to please her and do what I thought she wanted me to do. Dumb.

The concept of the parent who lives through his or her child is familiar to anyone who has stood on the sidelines of a youth soccer or baseball game. The narcissist’s reaction to her child’s life is qualitatively different. It’s not just annexation; it’s the redrawing of the borders to completely absorb the other life into her own. (Huffington Post)

This article from Psychology Today speaks volumes about narcissists and their victims. Sometimes you cannot even try to understand where their brains are, because it’s just not possible. How can a parent try to control her child so much that her child would rather be over at a friends’ house than be at home with her? Why is it that a narcissist tries to take-over and control everyone around them and squashes the real, deep development of the individual?

But, enter the condition of narcissism. What if you married a narcissist who is all about what is good for him or her, rather than what is in the best interest of the children? The narcissist makes unrealistic demands, is not emotionally connected to the children, may be emotionally abusive or worse, but will fight to the end to gain revenge or fight in the interest of his/her own needs. The fight may be economically based, or more likely what is known as a narcissistic injury. That person will never get over or forget that you filed for divorce or abandoned them, and will continue to make life difficult for you and the children. What do you do?

To reiterate, if you marry a narcissist and then divorce that person, the narcissist will not forgive and forget. They do not move on easily. They cling to “how could you abandon me or do this to me” and the anger lingers for long periods of time, sometimes years and years. To imagine that one could process through an amicable divorce with a narcissist and stay friends and co-parent in a reasonable manner is not realistic with narcissists. They do things such as excessively disparage the other parent, resort to making up unfair and untrue allegations, and do not want to financially support the children because that somehow means to them that they are giving money to their ex-spouse. Their entitlement needs get in the way of fairly dividing property and money and in the end they do not think of what is best for the child or children. They think about what is best for them! “It is my parenting time!” “You cannot have sporting events on my time!” “Your mother (or father) is taking all my money.” (Psychology Today)

If you are dealing with a high conflict individual in your life, don’t try to understand them. You won’t. But you can get educated! Spend time reading. Spend time learning. Surround yourself with support. Most of all, understand the disease. Because, as Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

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It’s amazing the vantage point you have when you carefully follow a path, one slight step after another, and reach high ground during a long journey.

If you look one direction, you see where you came from. Your eyes analyze the terrain and you may even be surprised at the progress you made to get to the sunlit spot where you stand.

As you turn your face to the sun, you can’t help but feel a sense of pride for all the miles you’ve covered, the danger you’ve faced, and the challenges you’ve overcome along the way.

Standing on this high ground, you can also see the path that is outstretched before you. What a glorious thing to look beyond and feel the adrenaline rush through you as you consider which direction to go, what experiences might lie ahead, and what obstacles may be in your way.

The thing about being on high ground, is only the people who have taken the high road, walked the walk, and put in the hard work along the way will be blessed enough to join you for the rest of the journey. For this, I am thankful. Because carrying someone along the path only to realize they didn’t belong there can be an exhausting thing.

Tonight I stand on high ground. I feel the sunshine, warm on my skin, and deep love surrounding me as I stand here with my husband and my kids. My journey has been long, my obstacles large, but those obstacles are very much desperate, insignificant, and left in our past.

Here’s to the journey. To loving along the way. To knowing that life is about people, emotions, caring and giving, because those things are what bring you love and happiness.

For those of you who are still on your journey through divorce, or for those of you trying to co-parent with someone who is a narcissist, remember this…high ground is safest in a storm. Your children can see the clouds and lightening around them, and you are their safe spot. Keep walking the high road. Your kids see who walks the journey with them because they see with their own eyes from their vantage point. Walk with them. Walk together. And enjoy the next phase in the journey!

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During the first 3-or-so years post divorce, I found myself trying to keep everyone happy. My kids had issues with their dad, their dad would get mad at me and blame me if they were rude to him or voiced how they didn’t want to go to his house, the list goes on. He’d say I was turning them against him.

I found myself more in the position of mediator than mother/ex. I’d try to help my kids understand that their father wanted to see them, but they would reply with a, “That’s not fair! So-and-so invited me over tonight!” And so the battle would begin.

I took on the negotiator role–trying to make it a win-win for all parties. All that caused was more stress, more pain, and more problems for me. All of them were being heard, but I dreaded any time an argument would come up between one of them and their dad. I was stuck in the middle and a pawn in a vicious, frustrating game.

I learned a lot of lessons along the way. When my kids were younger, I supported more. I stepped in more to help with the communications with their father when he was being demanding in his “my way or the highway” style. They wanted me to back them and he wanted me to jump every time he said to. (Please note that when a decree says something, it doesn’t mean that you have to do it exactly HIS way. You just have to do what the decree says.)

The day has come where I’ve turned the kids’ relationship with their father over to them. I can’t force a 17 year old who is bigger than me to get in my car and go see his dad during the specific court ordered days. Hell, I’m lucky if he has time to squeeze me into his schedule!  But I always allow him to go when he gets an idea to spend the night up there, out of the blue. And if my 11 year old is broken hearted because she realized her dad has lied to her, I don’t defend him any longer and make up excuses for him. I simply tell her, “I’m sorry” and that she needs to reach out to her dad.

Just because some of us were once married to a narcissist and did everything his way, when and how he said, does not mean we have to continue to do it his way. Nor do we have to make his kids do it exactly his way. Now, try getting the NPD personality to accept that–that’s like moving the great pyramids of Egypt. Ain’t likely!

I know it may be difficult as a mother with young children to step back and not get caught up in the game your ex plays when he throws the kids smack dab in the middle of his manipulation. And your role now is important–first and foremost to look out for them and be an advocate for them. But as they grow, remember, you are a mother, not a mediator. Give your kids the confidence to speak their true feelings and not be afraid of people. Remind them that sharing how they feel about something is justified and human. They don’t have to put up with put downs, and it’s okay to tell a parent how they feel.

if a parent can’t respect that in them, that’s their problem.

 

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I was married to a bully for 17 years.

I think about that life and now it’s hard to imagine. I kept a spotless house for fear of angering him. I changed the way I dressed, dropped friends, and gave up hobbies to make him feel more secure. I admit: I pretty much changed everything about myself because of him. Leaving him opened my eyes to true love, integrity and loyalty in a partner.

So here’s the thing about bullies: once they know their control games and manipulation tactics don’t work anymore, their insecurities grow and so does their anger.

The man I was once married to was told about this blog by one of my children’s coaches.

He’s read each and every post on my blog. Multiple times.

Imagine my surprise when I was served papers to appear in court and attached to the documents were printouts of my blog entries.

Absent from the documents were the blog posts where I speak of my love for Brandon, his love for me, my healing, my moments of clarity as I’ve grown through the power of writing and love received. All of it.

The only things included were posts about him.

Documents state I’m harassing him. He states I’m vindictive and can’t move on.

Blogging about the journey to my wholehearted, vulnerable, authentic self has helped me and many others heal. And I’m proud of the roads I’ve taken. I’m also proud of my writing.

I know that many of you were once married to a similar type of individual. I know that many of you long for a healthy co-parenting relationship and dance the dance, still, just as I do.

I’m proud of myself for leaving a bully. I’m thankful for all of the connections I’ve made through this and other blogs. And most importantly, I’m not afraid to write.

My children see healing and strength in me. My husband sees my heart and my integrity. And everyone sees the truth.

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I was thinking about my first marriage the other day. I remembered at one time telling my then-husband, “I could never marry someone who was divorced. Especially with kids.” I was young at the time, twenty-three, and it was hard to wrap my head around the idea of caring for someone else’s kids when I didn’t have any of my own.

My judgement came from watching my older brother leave for weeks at a time during the summer to go spend time with his father in Las Vegas. To me, my brother was part of MY family. My family only. He called my dad “dad” and he was my brother–not “half-brother,” brother! I wasn’t born when his father was married to my mother, and his dad never came to visit him (I don’t remember one visit). So to be told that he was going to see his dad for a few weeks was a strange thing for me and hard to watch.

Fast forward 20 years and here I am, married to a man who’s been divorced. And he has 4 kids…3 by one ex and 1 by another. The math and the logistical issues can sometimes be hard to swallow for some people. But we make it work. It takes some creative scheduling, but we do it.

When Brandon and I were first dating, my heart ached for Brandon’s youngest son. He was only a year old, and drop offs and pick ups broke my heart. You could tell he was so confused and saddened to leave his mom when we picked him up, then sad to leave his dad when we dropped him off. It wasn’t easy. I just wanted to fix things for him so he wouldn’t have to be so confused.

I remember on a few occasions I told Brandon he should try to work it out with his ex–for the baby’s sake. He needed both parents, and in a strange way I felt like I was in the way (even though they had broken up months before we got together). Brandon would grab my hand and remind me that the water under that bridge was too deep and there would be no chance of reconciling.

As a step-mom, seeing those tears has been one of the most difficult things for me.

I have loved Brandon’s kids as my own for quite awhile now. I respect their mothers and the relationships they had with Brandon, and I hope they know I care for the kids. I’m right there in the trenches through broken teenaged hearts, potty training and other issues that the kids face. I may not know what it’s like to have my parents broken up, but I do know the hurt that kids go through during the back and forth.

The shuffling from one house to the other is something they’ve known since they were all small. Unlike my kids who ranged from 12 to 6 when I was divorced, they’re quite used to this arrangement. That doesn’t mean one way is better/easier than another. It’s all hard. And it’s hard as a parent to watch. I’ve learned to empathize with the kids, and let them know that I know it’s hard. And I’ve also reminded them that even though we don’t see them all that much, we still love them and are their parents who are here for them just like the parents they live with.

Being a step-parent has brought me blessings I cherish and I’m happy I can play a part in Brandon’s kid’s lives. It’s taken some time for me to understand my role, but I’m feeling like I’m settling in.

Today, Brandon’s youngest (who just turned 3) heard me telling my daughter that Brandon and I may go out tomorrow for our anniversary and said, “And me too!”

I laughed and asked, “You want to come too? How come?”

He looked up and said, “Cause I love ya…I love you, and my mama, too.”

“I love you too, buddy,” I told him.

The back and forth may be hard, and it may be hard for me to watch, but he knows I love him and I know he loves me. I’m a pretty lucky girl.

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The last few weeks have brought so much reward to me and hopefully to my kids as well. Now that I’m working from home, we’ve spent time together. We’ve talked. We’ve been busy with sports and other things, but we’ve also had some downtime, which has been great for all of us. Last night, my oldest son had a softball game and he asked me if I would go watch him. Last year, he played on a team with Brandon and I and we all had a great time. Brandon and I are much too busy this year to play, but his dad asked him to play on a team he’s played on for a couple years and my son wanted our whole family to go and watch.

“Sure,” I told him. There was only a small part of me that didn’t want to go, and that’s because my ex has been pretty difficult with me (again) lately. But I’m not one to let my ex separate me from what my kids want, so of course we went. Our family sat out on the grass, and I was respectful to give my ex and his wife their space. My son wanted us to sit closer, but I was fine out on the grass having a picnic with Brandon and the kids.

My son had a great game, and it was so great to see him out playing ball again. And ya know, I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all watching my ex husband play in the same game my son was playing in. Some people would think I’m crazy to go and sit there watching my ex play–with all of the drama that man has brought to my life–but I was really there only to support my son, so it wasn’t strange at all. If anything, I watched with an appreciation that he and my son could play ball together. Now, I’m sure it could have been strange for my ex and his wife to have me on “their turf” but again, I wasn’t there for them.

The sun was setting just as the game was ending, and Brandon and I piled all the kids into the car to drive home. We all sang Flo Rida songs at the top of our lungs while we were all squished into the car, and it really was a memorable night.

The emotions started rolling in for me once we got home–after I replayed the evening in my mind. My heart began to break as I thought about how my son has to live his life with a gap as wide as the Grand Canyon right down the middle. Dad on one side. Mom on the other. Why does it have to be like that? I really don’t understand why it needs to be that way. Brandon and his ex’s are friendly with each other when they’re at the kids things. Why can’t my kids have the same?

I have longed for a “normal” co-parenting situation for so long. One where my son’s family goes to his games and support him and parents can be friendly and the animosity is void. But I know that will never happen for my kids. I’ve tried to be friendly with my ex. I’ve tried to speak to him as a respectful adult. He insists on acting childish and still won’t make eye contact–4 years later he still refuses to make eye contact with me. It’s almost as if he’s on a pedastal and he can’t bring himself to “stoop so low” to even look at me, the mother of his 4 children.

A few weeks ago, my daughter played ball on a Friday night during our “drop off time.” I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to pick up our older daughter from soccer that night or if he was going to so I walked over to her father to ask if he would be picking her up. He and his wife sat there staring off into the distance and wouldn’t acknowledge me standing next to their seats. He continued to stare off into the distance and replied, “it’s my parent time–I’ll handle it.” My response was calm and clear, “I just need you to communicate that with me so I know what’s going on.” His eyes rolled and he formed his hand into a puppet mouth pointed at my face and opened and closed his fingers and thumb to mimic my talking, and he didn’t respond again to me. This man is so mature.

I don’t want “normal” co-parenting as much for myself (but Jesus, that would be nice) as much as I want it for my kids. Imagine the love my son could have felt last night if BOTH of his parents were talking and communicating and cheering for him at his game. Imagine how safe he would feel if his mother could walk up to him and his team after the game and speak to his father about how well he played. Imagine if we acted as if we were two old friends who shared a child and the anger and insecurity was gone. Imagine if the two of us could stand with our son and tell him how amazing we thought he was–together–as his parents. But then I remember that my ex is a narcissist, and he cannot put the needs of his 4 kids above himself. And his insecurities, anger, and immaturity will always take center stage.

My ex’s lack of compassion and respect towards me doesn’t really affect me, but it DOES affect his children. They feel the discomfort. They have been told that during “his time” they sit with him and he has drawn the line in the sand. He has painted parameters and boundaries around their relationships with each parent and they are expected to stay within each boundary, seperately. My heart breaks for the way he has changed their lives. They are four innocent people who are trying to love and repair, and they won’t ever be able to fully heal until their father does. And I’m not sure that will ever happen.

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The fear that a narcissist creates in their child is immeasurable. The narcissist’s insecurities, positioning worries, and less-than feelings all roll downhill to their small children and continually clobber them through their childhoods. The narcissist’s child could be the most talented, articulate, and intelligent child on the planet, but because one of their parents (or, heaven forbid, both parents) is a narcissist, they believe that they aren’t good enough–always.

I’ve watched this game evolve around all of my children. Each of them is talented in their own way–all play sports, some are artistic, some of them are great students. But every day, whether their father is present in their life every day or not, his words echo in their ears and they hear “You’re not good enough.”

My youngest daughter has been playing organized softball since she was 4 years old. It’s in her blood. She learned to love this sport at an early age and by 6 years old she was playing all-stars with 8 year olds (the photo above is of her at age 6). She is now the starting catcher on her 10-and-under competitive team. Her team is so good, they play in the 12-and-under leagues and tournaments, and she easily keeps up with the 12-year-old catchers–she’s 10.

She’s experienced a small set-back this month, because she’s dealing with a shoulder issue–posterior capsulary impingement. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Basically, the range in her arm is so great (she has a cannon!) that when she reaches back to throw, her bones pinch her muscles and nerves and her arm hurts. Because of this issue, she’s had to take some time off and begin physical therapy.

She’s sad to not be playing catcher as much, but she understands that resting her arm and retraining herself and her mechanics is important so she can reach her goal of playing in high school and college. Her coach supports her taking time off 100% and believes her health is most important. I’m so thankful she sees that, because previous coaches would push and push and not really care.

I’ve updated her father on this situation, and he’s very aware she’s injured her arm. But guess who’s in her ear telling her she’s going to lose her starting spot if she sits out? Guess who’s scaring her and making her feel anxious to get back in and start playing hard again? Her father! This man is so insecure that he pushes and prods and makes her feel afraid and not good enough even though this is not a performance issue. It’s a damn injury!

It’s so unfair! These children are merely extensions of the narcissist’s self. They see them as a direct reflection on them or they remember their strive for perfection and want their children to be perfect as well.

So how do we, the “other” parent help our children of narcissists? We remind them that perfect is impossible. We remind them that mistakes are how we learn and that our bodies are more important than a starting spot on a childhood softball team. It’s difficult at times to get them to see past the harsh words and blankets of insecurities they’re experiencing from the other parent, but our words can soothe them.

My hope is that I can give my children strength to see past the insecurities. I dream of a day where they feel proud of who they are and their father’s words aren’t the first words they hear when they are developing into wonderful human beings. Each of them is wonderful just for being who they are…bumped, bruised, broken even.

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