A very un-merry Christmas

shutterstock_22424299-280x186The holiday visit with Harley was tough. As I mentioned in my last post, it’s become clear that she lies, a LOT. That is, when she is in the room with us. She spent most of the visit locked in the guest room/Sebastian’s office, binge-watching Law & Order S.V.U. on Netflix. I would question whether or not this was appropriate for a 12 year old girl to watch but I know that she watches it with her mom 24/7 and also if you recall, her mother watched 50 Shades Of Grey with her and her brother when she was TEN years old. But let’s all remember what a bad parent Sebastian is. She’s been interacting with us as little as possible. She barely eats, but I know that her mother seems to be purposely trying to give her an eating disorder, so it’s not surprising she doesn’t eat meals with us but there’s candy wrappers left everywhere in her room because she’s secretly eating candy. We had guests the first week of January who found candy wrappers stuck everywhere around the guest room.

173a039bf55caefff353ce92a4ffa44dWe tried our best but she’s like a stone wall. I try to tell myself that a lot of this is typical pre-teen/teen behavior, I didn’t love interacting with my parents at that age either, but she seems so unhappy that it’s heartbreaking. So like the kid she still is, she wanted to open presents ASAP. It actually made me feel really good, like, yes! Normal kid behavior! Maybe there is hope. She tore open all the presents and she was excited about a couple of them. All in all, she got nearly $500 worth of cash, gift cards, presents, etc, not a bad haul for a 12 year old. What was tough was how she acted afterward. She didn’t say thank you, which is I’m sure typical for a kid, but she shut herself up in her grandmother’s (where we opened presents) guest room and wanted nothing to do with any of us again! So when she was asked to come out, I was sitting in a chair with a stack of my and Sebastian’s presents in front of me, and she acted like she was going to kick them. I looked at her and she said “Don’t you ever just want to do something like that? Kick something or break something?” I said “No, not really.”

She proceeded to tell me that sometimes when she’s holding a baby, she wants to drop it on purpose. She specifically said “a 3 month old baby” and I was thinking, “OMG this is horrifying! Is she trying to get attention or does she actually have urges to smash people’s Christmas gifts and drop a 3 month old baby on the floor????” She laughed and walked away and I was speechless. It made me really afraid that being raised by a narcissist is making her into a narcissist or sociopath herself. Even if it was a joke, that’s a really messed up joke. It was a really hard week for me personally. Sebastian says that he has given up on having a good relationship with Harley because he knows that there’s no way to fight against Cruella constantly bad-mouthing him and actively trying to turn Harley against him. I think on some level I was hoping that if she came into a normal, loving home that she might see that it’s not always the way it is with her mother, that it is not normal in her home. We have lost her though, it was really clear she doesn’t want anything to do with us, not even Bruce. He tried so hard to spend time with her and she rejected him, it really hurt him. Harley is learning that selfishness is normal, that everyone just wants to get what they want from people and then tosses them aside. She is learning that it’s ok to be nice to everyone when there’s a gift on the line but as soon as she has it she can go back to YouTube and texting her friends, what she really wants to do. She’s not learning that other people have feelings that we, as human beings, need to respect.

She’s being raised by a narcissist to be a narcissist.

It’s so scary but it finally hit me in the face – we are helpless. There’s nothing we can do. We tried to get custody, we failed, we lost her. She’s going to have such a hard life, just like her mother has, expecting everyone to give her attention and presents and do things for her 24/7 but never giving anything back and never being satisfied. I don’t know that I knew your heart could break in such a way for another person. I don’t even know how to end this post, on some level I’m still devastated by what has been done to this poor child. No one will help her. No one will help us help her. How is that ok?

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Hey everyone, I haven’t been updating as much because I have been adjusting to a new shift at work! I do plan to get back to blogging though because a lot has been going on, unfortunately. When you have a narcissist in your life, you want things to be quiet because otherwise it means non-stop drama. With the holidays approaching, one thing has become more and more clear – Harley and Cruella seem to be morphing into the same person. It’s scary, and it’s really concerning and most importantly, there’s not a damn thing we can do about it. I know I’ve mentioned that recently Harley has become more and more emotionally and verbally abusive to Sebastian when she talks to him. She has sounded a lot like Cruella, in that their voices sound very similar on the phone, but now she even talks like her – the things she says are dismissive, selfish, and thoughtlessly cruel.

1bdf5ec20473c55370be043f12ffefcfI think this has probably been a long time coming, even though it feels like it happened overnight. We have known and been afraid of Harley learning to be selfish and self-centered because kids emulate what they see. You learn how to be a person by observing the people around you and if they are sick and messed up, you become sick and messed up. In the absence of her father and then her brother, Harley has gone from having a narcissist and two normal people in her life to having only a narcissist. Observing Cruella, she is learning that only your feelings matter, no one else’s; that you can say whatever you want and if someone else is hurt that is their problem not yours; and that nothing matters but you. As she gets closer and closer to her teen years, which are inherently selfish, Harley seems to be morphing into her mother. She has also stopped resisting (if she ever did) abusing her father and brother on her mother’s behalf. She now calls to communicate Cruella’s agenda, rather than to just talk to them. In the months that they have been back in our state, she has spent only an hour with Sebastian – supervised by her mother – and she has never been in our home. Sebastian asked if she would be allowed to come to a therapy appointment with him, so that she could talk to his therapist about any issues she has with him and get any questions she has answered, but Cruella said that the only way she would allow that is if she can be right there with her. 6cea25a06528b099541f0eefc0fa14e4She has become so controlling of Harley, she barely lets her out of her sight! Sebastian’s therapist has met Cruella, back when they were in couple’s counseling and individual counseling with two therapists in the same practice, and she knows how sick and twisted Cruella is. To the point where Sebastian’s therapist says she will not be in the same room with Cruella ever again. That’s how sick this woman is! A therapist is afraid of her toxicness. So we are at an impasse.

I don’t know how Sebastian does it. If it were my child, I would probably cry every day. He says that he has grieved the loss of his child. What a horrible thing for a parent to have to do! Harley is purposely cruel when they talk on the phone, which isn’t often. She wanted to see Bruce over Thanksgiving break, and he was out of town. Sebastian asked her if she wanted to ride in the car with him to pick Bruce up, and Harley said “I don’t feel comfortable being in the car with you for hours.” I asked him why and he said he didn’t ask her. He says he actually doesn’t want to talk to her anymore, because all she does is attack him and say hurtful things. I don’t blame him, but at the same time my heart breaks for him. She told him she will visit at Christmas only because “the court says I have to and WE obey the law.” A dig at Sebastian not forcing Bruce to go visit Cruella. Cruella and Harley have become a “WE.” Sebastian says he will tell her she doesn’t have to visit if she doesn’t want to, which means she probably won’t come. I think we will all be relieved. f9c4b053e39d111d4b839049bc25d761She’s so mean and horrible, the thought of having her in our home for a week makes me sick to my stomach. He said if she does want to come he is going to talk to her about her attitude and let her know that we won’t tolerate her being a b**** to everyone. I doubt it will be an issue though, she won’t want to come unless Cruella tells her to come and spy on us. It’s so sad that it has come to this. There’s nothing we can do. The court has failed us and more importantly, Harley. $25,000 completely thrown away. We would have done better burning it in a fire out in the yard. Nothing has changed, and now our worst fears have come true, Cruella has turned her daughter into a tiny version of her – not just a narcissistic image where she is everything Cruella wanted to be but wasn’t (which is how she has always treated her) but now putting her words into Harley’s mouth, her thoughts into Harley’s head, controlling literally every aspect of her and her personality.

A couple years ago, one of Cruella’s sisters sent Sebastian a message on facebook telling him that he should try to get custody of Harley, because she looked so unhappy in all the pictures Cruella posted of her on facebook. That’s how bad it has been. I know Harley is miserable and she’s probably just doing what she needs to do to make her mother “love” her. If only society would catch up and realize that mothers are not always healthy, that some should not be allowed access to their children because their abuse is so all-encompassing and terrible. It’s too late for Harley I’m afraid. I wonder what the next ten years will be like? 😦

How do you co-parent with someone completely irrational?

I was reading this great article on Psych Central Ten Rules for Effective Co-Parenting. It’s a great article, and it makes it clear that the new title of my blog is an oxymoron because it is impossible to actually co-parent with a narcissist!

It’s a great article, here are some of the points and why it doesn’t work/can’t work with Cruella, or any person with Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

698180d28b7f23cc3394af28590c15a8

1. It’s all about the kid’s best interest.
The end. End of story. When you are dealing with a narcissist, it’s NEVER about anyone else, it’s only ever about them. If they have children, the children exist to bring them validation, praise, attention, etc. They exist to reflect well upon the narcissist. Their needs must be the needs of the narcissist, they must want what the narcissist wants. Literally nothing Cruella has done in the last 3 years have been about Harley or her best interest – none of the moves, attempting to alienate her from her father, nothing. The problem with young children is that they don’t have the ability to understand that their needs can be different from those of a parent. They rightfully assume that the parent always wants what is best for them, but that is not the case when your parent has a personality disorder.

2. The rules should be the same.
This one doesn’t even apply WITHIN the narcissist’s household. The rules are ever changing, there is no continuity. There may be different rules for different children, if one is liked and the other is not. The rules change based on the narcissists wants and whims. Children (and adults too!) must constantly walk on eggshells, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

4. Communicate via internet
We are actually working on this one now. Cruella for some reason wants to use a co-parenting website that you message through that limits “abusive” language. Which is so funny because Sebastian is never abusive to her but she is constantly sarcastic and negative. She doesn’t yell at him anymore but I think that is only because he refuses to talk to her on the phone. He has told her that once they pay for this site he will not communicate with her in any other way, no text or email, but narcissists HATE feeling like they are not in control so I imagine that the texts will continue. She likes to send 10-15 text messages back to back, ranting about things.

5. Keep kids out of the middle.
The article mentions parents can “unintentionally” put kids in the middle, but Cruella puts Harley in the middle on purpose. She manipulates her to make Harley feel and think what Cruella wants her to feel and think. She tells her things to say, and it’s easy to tell because she uses words she wouldn’t normally use like “disparage.” What’s sad is that Harley is still too young to be able to take a step back and see how her mother is manipulating and using her. I only hope that, like Bruce, she will come to see Cruella for who she really is – but Cruella’s abuse of Harley is much more subtle and insidious.

7. Be honest
Honestly is not a tool in the narcissist’s wheelhouse. If Sebastian is honest with Harley about the things her mom says and does, Harley accuses him of “disparaging her mother.” Not a 12 year old word, as I mentioned above. How simply saying what Cruella did is belittling, I do not know. Cruella is not capable of being honest, because she believes all her lies. Even those that directly contradict things she said before. Such as, Sebastian “abandoned her and the kids” and then a week later saying he “was abusive and she escaped a marriage of torture.” You cannot both leave someone and be abandoned by them.

10. Act like an adult
Does wordpress have emojiis? I want to put a whole line of laughing face emojiis here. Narcissists are at the heart of their personalities, overgrown petulant children. The part of them that empathizes with others has never developed, so it’s like dealing with a toddler.

Out of order, I wanted to mention 9. Step-parents are assistant parents.
This is a tough one for me. Bruce is almost 17, so he doesn’t require a lot of parenting. Mostly he just wants someone to listen to him talk, he’s a great kid. He requires minimal reminding to take out the trash and wash the dishes, he’s such a great kid it’s extra sad to me that his mother was so abusive of him. With Harley, she’s so blatantly disrespectful of her dad, I can’t imagine how she would be to me if I tried to tell her what to do. In a post that I never made public a couple years ago, I talked about how she got angry with me on a trip we all took, told me to “shut up” and shoved me because she thought I was agreeing with her brother that her favorite band was stupid. Sebastian and I had our first real fight ever over that, because I believe kids should respect adults, unless given a reason not to, and physical violence is never ok with me. Yes, it was just a shove not a punch but there’s no justification for someone doing that sort of thing, especially not a child to an adult!

I may never have the opportunity to be “assistant parent.” Sebastian has given Harley the choice on whether or not to visit, even when she lived in another state, and she declined to visit once although she did come last Christmas and for three weeks this past summer. You would think that living two hours away we would see more of her, but we have only seen her once since finding out that they had moved to our state. That was only for an hour, when he met her and her mother at a coffee shop to give them some items that she had left over the summer. Given that she’s becoming more and more like her mother: demanding, self-centered, dismissive, invalidating of other people’s feelings, disrespectful to everyone, and has been caught lying excessively in the last few months, I wonder if she will want anything to do with a household that has structure and rules – given the choice.

The Facebook Betrayal

Since December 2014 – the first and last time Picture-1that I had an interaction with Sebastian’s ex-wife – I have had her blocked on Facebook. That holiday visit was the most epic meltdown I’ve ever been adjacent to (See my post “I Hate My Boyfriend’s Ex-Wife” for more on that) which convinced me that there was zero reason to ever interact with her. Sebastian had blocked her soon after we began dating, when he had posted a funny video and the comment that he laughed so hard he was “afraid I would wake up my girlfriend sleeping in the bedroom.” When the ex saw that, she called him and yelled at him for about 45 minutes.

Before this summer break began, in a rare moment of acting like a normal, sane person, she asked if Sebastian would unblock her so that she could see photos he took of the kids during break. It seemed like a reasonable request, so he did. I told him at that time that I would continue to block her, so he needed to make sure to save any photos I took and posted on my page, and post them again on his page so she could see them. Everything seemed to be going fine…

Until we went to a restaurant to celebrate Sebastian’s 41st birthday. His mother, the kids, and I all went to dinner and we took a couple photos that weren’t very good. His ex-wife hates me and hates his mother as well. She had previously said that she didn’t want to see any photos with me in them. During a conversation with Sebastian, she asked him if he planned to post the photos from the restaurant because she hadn’t seen them yet. At the time, it did immediately sink in to anyone that she knew what restaurant we had been to, the kids could have mentioned it to her after all. Then, a day or so later, she told Sebastian’s 15 year old son (I guess I should give the kids pseudonyms too, we will call him Bruce) Bruce not to change his facebook password. This was random and out of nowhere, it’s almost like she was setting this up because why would she say that to him?! He realized what was happening and he felt guilty about it even though he hadn’t done anything wrong. He went to his dad and told him that he was pretty sure his mom was using his facebook account to look at my page. Bruce was conflicted about what to do. Sebastian told me what was going on and I immediately said that I would just go ahead and block Bruce on facebook too. He rarely uses it for much of anything, since kids aren’t really into facebook, and if I blocked him it would save him the conflict with his mom that would ensue if he changed his password. Or so I thought!

Less than 24 hours later, the meltdown commenced. Bruce’s cellphone rang and it was his mom. There was nothing alarming about this as she calls the children at least once per day. Unfortunately it was the kind of call that Sebastian has gotten used to receiving – she was irrationally angry and screaming, wanting to lash out and hurt the people that upset her. In this case, it was her own son. She began yelling at him, telling him that he had betrayed her. She said that he had chosen me over her, and he was a hateful, selfish child who didn’t deserve her love. She said that she hoped he would be happy with his “new family” ie Sebastian and myself because she didn’t want to have anything to do with him anymore. She told him he was no  longer invited to spend the last two weeks of the summer with her parents, his grandparents, that she was not going to call and talk to him anymore, and that he was not even going to be able to visit her on holidays. (Oh, have I mentioned, Bruce is moving here to live with Sebastian? That’s a whole separate long post. It’s been a crazy summer!)

As you can see, that was a complete overreaction as well as being extremely verbally and emotionally abusive. These are the types of tirades that have come to be normal interactions with Sebastian but neither of the kids have ever had a full blown meltdown directed at them to my knowledge. This all happened because she logged in to Bruce’s facebook to spy on my page and couldn’t find me anymore. She realized that he must have told me and even though I had been trying to spare him the abuse by blocking him so he wouldn’t have to change his password, he was attacked anyway. This time, Sebastian had enough. He has never stood up for himself with her the way that I think that he should, taking much more verbal abuse than a human being ever should, but he stood up for his son. Sebastian told her that she is a sick individual. He said he has never told her this before but that she needed to know that she is very mentally ill and that she needs to seek help. He told her he would no longer allow her to talk to their children like that and to emotionally abuse them. He told her that kind of behavior was abuse and that if she doesn’t get help and get better that he will have to take custody of their daughter away from her. Eventually her anger faded and she broke down crying. People say: “hurt people hurt other people.” That may be true but there’s only a tiny part of me that can feel bad for her, because she’s 40 years old and a parent. No matter how bad her childhood and her marriage and her life have been, it doesn’t give her the right to abuse her children.

In the end, Bruce went ahead and changed his password on Facebook, hell he had already been yelled at! I felt very violated up until the point that she attacked Bruce, and then I realized it’s not really about me. Her sneaking around to look at my facebook page, looking at all my photos, secretly reading my posts, none of that is about me. That’s all about her low self-esteem, her emotional problems, and her mental illness. She doesn’t really care that Sebastian is with me, she hates that Sebastian is happy because she wants him to be as miserable as she is. (Even though she has a boyfriend too – not even sure how sick that poor dude must be to want to date her! O_o ) I feel very sorry for her. I’ve never wanted kids, but her kids are pretty cool. How sad it must be to not appreciate these cool little people that you gave birth to, instead seeing them only as pawns in a giant game of chess with her ex-husband. All she wants to do is win, the kids are collateral damage. This whole thing has made it crystal clear and now even Sebastian can’t deny that she does not care about anyone but herself. Whether she’s capable of caring we will probably never know, but it’s really clear that she doesn’t care about the feelings and mental health of her kids, all she cares about is punishing someone when she’s hurt. That’s really really effing sad.

IMG_0958

Child-free by choice

I want to explain the phrase “child-free by choice” that I use on my “about” page.

That is a phrase that women who don’t want to have kids have adopted for ourselves, because “childless” sounds like you’re reproductively challenged or some such. Is it odd that a woman in her mid-30s doesn’t want and has never wanted kids? Not to me. If it offends you, you probably won’t enjoy this blog much because you’ll decide I’m a horrible selfish person. I can be selfish, but so can anyone. There’s definitely nothing wrong with me in that regard. I didn’t have a great relationship with my mother growing up and we have had a strained relationship since I’ve been an adult. I love my mother, but she also never wanted kids but changed her mind. Although she would never admit it, I think deciding to have kids was a bad choice for her. Don’t get me wrong, I am very glad I exist! But she wasn’t really emotionally equipped to raise children. She did the best she could, and I appreciate that. I have had a lot of therapy to become the wonderful, well adjusted, functioning person I am. I don’t think I’d be very good at raising children either. I made what I believe to be a responsible decision to not have children of my own. My one sibling has made a similar decision.

Powerful-Illustrations-Showing-Women-How-To-Fight-Against-Society-Prejudices-1It used to be that if someone had children, that was a deal-breaker for me. I didn’t date people with children. That seemed like the wisest choice given I have no interest in raising children. I didn’t want everyone to get hurt. I also have been honest with romantic interests that I don’t want to have children. For those most part, this has not been an issue. When it comes to love however, it’s impossible to always be sensible. When I met Sebastian, I wasn’t that interested in him at first. We met online, like many modern couples. He told me about some difficulties he’d had in the past, and that he has two kids. He really put himself out there and I respected that. I told him that for many reasons he wasn’t someone I’d consider dating but that we could be friends. As it turned out, the more we talked the more I really liked him. His kids were about to move twelve hours away to another state with their mom, so I decided to give it a chance. Several years later we are married and this is the most healthy, loving, wonderful relationship that I have ever been in. We respect each other; we communicate really really well; we are supportive of each other; we share important beliefs and practice the same religion; and we genuinely love spending time with each other just as much as we did when we first met.

So I realized if I loved this man and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him – I needed to have a relationship with his kids. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for that or not, but I knew that being with Sebastian meant being an important adult in the lives of his kids.

This was originally part of the “about” page but as I change the focus of this page I split it off on its own.