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?

Lies are all a narcissist knows

426db393d87a412f69ccef58534b6deeIf you have a narcissist or someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) in your life, the one thing that you have likely learned – probably the hard way – is that they lie. They lie all the time; about everything; sometimes for no apparent reason; lies are like their air.

As adults, when we catch someone in a lie, we learn to question what they say or do after that, because they have proven themselves to be someone that lies. With children, it’s not so cut and dry. Our children believe what we tell them, because for the first part of their lives, we are the only thing that is keeping them alive. They have to trust us because they have no other choice. Mom/dad/parent/caregiver = life. Our children trust us absolutely. If you tell your young child an outrageous lie, like a man that lives at the North Pole flies all around the world in one night in a sleigh pulled by reindeer and leaves presents for all the good children for example, they will believe you. To a child, what comes out of  their parents’ mouth is as good as gold. As children age, they learn how to be people by watching those around them. We have all witnessed or heard funny stories of a child learning to talk saying a curse word because they’ve heard their parents say it. brttibocaaa_vxxThere was a whole episode of “Modern Family” where a child keeps saying f***; and another where she emulates her aunt’s snarky responses “want me to call you a wambulance? wah, wah.” It’s even a meme. In the episode, her parents blame themselves and each other for her rude behavior but it turns out, she’s just saying what she has heard her aunt say to other people.

Children learn how to behave from us.

But what happens when the child’s primary caregiver is a narcissist..?

They learn that you lie. You say whatever you need to say in order to get what you want or to get yourself out of trouble. Lying is ok, lying is what we do. They don’t question whether or not it is ok or good to tell lies, just like Lily from Modern Family didn’t question whether or not it was ok to make fun of people’s feelings by going “wah wah.” They don’t have the ability to take a step back and look critically at behavior, they only know that the people they trust are doing it so it must be ok. Frightening isn’t it? The problem is, if that’s all a child sees and knows, they start to behave like the narcissist.

i-hate-liars-hypocrites-and-peopleWe realized that Harley was lying, a lot, in huge ways, and to manipulate, over the summer when she visited. She concocted a wild story that in hindsight should have been a red flag, but at the time we had no reason to disbelieve her. She said that her mother was forcing her to change who she is to conform with what her mother wanted her to be – she was forcing her to change her appearance and her personality. Seeing as her mother is a narcissist who cares more about how she appears to those around her than anything else, it made perfect sense that it could happening. At 12, Harley is beginning to be her own person and no longer the perfect little Barbie doll that her mother can mold into the blond, thin, gymnastics-doing, better than everyone else, hugely popular junior “mean girl” that her mother had wished she herself was as a child. It was not a stretch of the imagination to believe that Cruella would respond to Harley’s natural, age-appropriate differentiation and trying to figure out who she is by demanding that she stay who Cruella wants her to be. It caused Sebastian and I a significant amount of distress which culminated in him actually having a phone conversation with Cruella – something he refuses to do 99.9% of the time, unless it’s a legitimate emergency. After questioning from both parents and Cruella’s denial that she was doing anything of the sort, Harley admitted that she had lied about it, on purpose, in an attempt to cause her parents to fight. Then Harley announced that the truth, which she as supposed to discuss with her father but never brought up, was that she supposedly wanted to change her last name from her father’s name to her mother’s maiden name. She was afraid to tell him and so she made up a story about her mother oppressing her in order to distract everyone.

39ebfeaa96d1d84efb17b155618bf690Now, she is visiting for the Christmas break, and we have caught her in several lies over the last four days. First, she told me a story about getting frostbite two years ago, one that I was fairly certain was not true, given that she has not lost any fingers or toes and I was sure I’d remember hearing about that. It would have been a pretty big deal! She showed me her pinky finger would not bend to touch her palm and said that was due to frostbite. That seemed pretty iffy to me but I just let it go. Then, she was telling us all stories about how she “calls out” her teachers because she knows more than they do so she’s always telling them that they are wrong and correcting them in class. Clearly the 12 year old knows everything… I wonder where she picked THAT up?! She claimed that she has never gotten into trouble for talking back all the time, which cannot possibly be true. If she was constantly telling her teachers they are wrong and arguing with them in class, she would have been at least sent to the office a few times.

Last, it came to a head last night in an incident that was clearly and elaborate, obvious lie. She heard Bruce ask me if he could eat the starburst candy that was sitting in the kitchen. I told him yes, but to please leave me the individual sized sour patch kids bag. Harley immediately pipes up with a very unnecessarily detailed story. She said: Oh, you know I am using a purse that I don’t usually use, only for special occasions. The last time I used it was on Halloween. Last night when you were asleep, I dropped it on the kitchen floor and everything spilled out. I bet I picked it up by accident thinking it was mine from Halloween. 

Um, really? That is an extremely detailed story! She said “I will go check in my room for it.” (The guest room, where she is sleeping, is also Sebastian’s home office.) I told her it was not a big deal, not to worry, but she insisted on going and looking for it. Like 30 seconds later she came out and said “I found it in dad’s desk drawer! Dad, why were their sour patch kids in YOUR desk drawer?”

Bruce said, “Oh come on! You took those!”

Harley was insistent that she had not. “NO! They were in dad’s desk drawer!”

Obviously, a 12 year old child is not as skilled a liar as a 45 year old narcissist, so it was blatantly obvious that her story was fake. Her weird sense of urgency when I said it was ok; the long story about spilling the purse which obviously didn’t happen; finding it “in a desk drawer” after 30 seconds of going to “look for it;” blaming her dad; it all adds up to a really stupid lie. Sebastian was just going to let it drop but when she left the room I asked him to address it. I wasn’t upset with her taking the candy but lying about it was not ok. I know she has likely learned that you lie to get out of trouble, you like to get what you want, you lie to have something to talk about, you like to make yourself sound better than you are, you lie, you lie, you lie, because that’s what she sees from her mother. But lying about everything isn’t ok! Sebastian told her “Harley, we aren’t mad at you and you aren’t in trouble, but it’s not ok to lie about taking the candy.” She said “Okkkkkkkkkay…” all drawn out in a tone of voice like “why are you saying this to me when I didn’t take the candy?” And that was that. Honestly, I feel like I will start to question everything she says now. Not just because of the candy, but because most of what I have heard her say on this trip has been an obvious lie. The worst part is that we are helpless to do anything. A couple weeks a year with us is not going to make a difference. She has learned that lying is what you do, and she will probably always be a liar.

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? 😦

Projecting, what is it and why do narcissists do it?

77141-67838Projection is a defense mechanism, there are many different ones and everyone employs some of them at one point or another. There are some that people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) seem to favor and projection is one of them. In an article on Lifescript, Jennifer Beaumann writes: Psychological projection involves projecting undesirable feelings or emotions onto someone else, rather than admitting to or dealing with the unwanted feelings. The article has several good examples that help explain what psychological projecting is. If we cannot own our negative feelings or admit our negative character traits to ourselves, we may project them onto others, meaning that we assign those negative feelings and character traits to that other person. For example, I may judge an acquaintance harshly for “being judgmental.” I would say something like, “Oh I can’t stand how Jane is always judging everyone! She thinks she is so much better than everyone, always looking down on them. It’s such an unattractive habit.” Yet I’m judging and looking down on Jane, exactly what I say that I hate.

This short article on GoodTherapy.org also explains it well. It gives the example: A person with narcissistic traits who does not respect their partner may say to the partner, “You don’t respect me or see my true worth.” I have seen that Cruella takes this a step further; she doesn’t just assign her negative feelings to other people, she flat out begins to believe that other people have done the horrible things she has done or said the awful things that she herself has said. I believe this is a combination of projection and gaslighting that is not uncommon with narcissists. (I will write a future blog post about gaslighting but you can read more about it now on Narcissistic Behavior Net.)

Cruella will do something and then months later, she will say that Sebastian or Bruce actually did or said the thing that she has done. So not only is she gaslighting by denying that it took place, she turns the tables and blames them for what she actually did or said. Here is a great example of an actual recent event. Over the weekend, Cruella sent a message to Sebastian, in which she accused him of refusing to give her our new address when we all moved in together, which she claims she asked for. In actual reality, Sebastian tried to find out where Cruella and Harley moved to and Harley told him she “would get in trouble” if she told him where they were living. For several weeks, we had no idea what state or city they were in. Sebastian, on the other hand, emailed Cruella our new address because that’s what the divorce papers state each parent is supposed to do within two weeks of moving. This has been a slow progression toward eventually projecting her bad behavior onto him. First, she claims she asked a month before we moved. She both did not ask, and also we had not moved so we weren’t obligated to provide the address until after Bruce was residing there. She said “you knew where it was going to be before you moved.” Ok, but still not sending her the new address prior to moving is not the same as refusing to tell her. (This is typical of narcissistic reasoning though, I didn’t do what I legitimately was supposed to do based on some sketchy pretty much unrelated thing that you did or didn’t do. The narcissist’s actions are always YOUR fault.) Now, she’s flat out claiming that Sebastian refused to give her the address when she asked AFTER we moved, a complete and total lie, but it’s what she did. Projection and gaslighting: what actually happened didn’t happen, and what I did you, actually did.

transitoProjection also allows a narcissist to protect themselves from the consequences of their own actions and behaviors. From around a month after she sent The Letter, Cruella began insisting that Bruce wanted to talk to her but Sebastian was actively preventing it. In spite of the fact that over the last year Bruce has told her: on the phone, in writing, and face-to-face that he does not want any contact with her, because she is incapable of admitting she could do or say anything wrong, she defaults back to this “you are keeping my son from me/influencing his behavior/alienating him from me/actively keeping him from talking to me.” In spite of the fact that she showed up at a school function two weeks ago and he completely ignored her she is still insisting that he wants to talk to her and we are stopping him. So yet again the poor kid had to send her another message telling her he doesn’t want to see or talk to her and the only reason for that is HER and HER BEHAVIOR. Of course, the way she projects, this likely means she is keeping Harley from talking to her father as well as actively turning her against him. Which we know she has done in the past.

204153f928267e09dc7334f5a5ebb574Now, the latest thing since she is back in the area is her attempting to bully us all and force us to force Bruce to spend time with her. Which is sick and we would never do! I try not to be bothered by it, but it really pisses me off when she acts like she can force us to do what she wants. She sent a message informing us that she was going to be coming to one of Bruce’s therapy sessions so we had better get ready. Um, no. That’s not how this works! She can’t force his therapist to talk to her or force herself into his session. What’s great is that we were able to get him in to see Cruella’s former therapist, so she knows exactly what kind of a sick person he is dealing with. She wrote a letter to the court about how being forced to spend time with his mother would psychologically damage him! I guess I just have a stubborn personality because unless you’re my boss at work, you’d better not TELL me to do anything because that’s the best way to make sure I won’t do it! She also apparently wants me to be on this “our family wizard” website, probably because I refuse to interact with her and she wants to force me to. The thing that’s sad about narcissists is that once you’re onto them and their games, they’re pathetically obvious. Insidious, but not subtle at all.

Ridiculous and sad

1cb5b9aaac97d97aa7d73a3a72f2fff5Well, the b**** ex-wife finally mentioned me on her “anonymous” blog. Yesterday morning, Bruce called Sebastian into his room, I didn’t think anything about it until he pulled me aside looking concerned. I thought something was really wrong but he told me that she was talking about me on the blog. Bruce came in later and said it was brief, she called me “needy”, said I’m “terrified she will steal him from me” and that I’m crazy. I appreciated Bruce being so concerned about my feelings.

Sebastian and I had a good laugh over the “stealing him” thing. Considering the sound of her voice makes him physically ill that’s never been a concern. It’s sad to me that she might actually believe that’s true. More than likely she just wants people to believe that’s true. One thing that does bother me is that she put my real last name on there. Some people she’s given nicknames to and other people she uses their real name for some reason. She apparently believes we can’t see the blog because she blocked Bruce, but he reads it. He’s actually the only one that does. I have chosen not to give her the energy or time and Sebastian just frankly doesn’t care. He prints it off once a week to give copies to his lawyer and therapist but that’s it. Apparently she’s written about her sexual exploits with several men, back when she still had custody of both the kids. Her “boyfriend” was married to someone else and she also talks openly about that.24e12a8111b28244b08d12c123859f7dI don’t judge people’s lifestyles as long as they don’t hurt anyone else but imagine a judge wouldn’t be a fan of those things. What’s really sick is that her 15 year old son is reading all that! We can’t really stop him, but I think I may gently suggest to him that it’s not healthy. The stuff about her “cancer” really upsets him, in part because he’s afraid on one level that it might be true. Sebastian and I don’t think it is, but no matter what a profoundly mentally and emotionally unstable person she is, and no matter how mean and angry and abusive she is to him, he’s her son and he loves her.

An anonymous blog filled with lies…

In a bit of irony, Sebastian’s ex has apparently started an “anonymous” blog. I put anonymous in quotes because she decided to change her name but follow her son Bruce’s blog. The reason it became obvious that it’s her (besides the fact that the basics of the first post match up perfectly although they’re exaggerated and highly dramatized…) is that when Bruce noticed he had a new follower, visited her blog, and liked her post, she blocked him. Even though she had been following him first! The reason I find this extremely ironic is that I would never have started this blog anonymously if she didn’t read my blog. I felt that I couldn’t talk about Sebastian and the kids there and share my heart and fears openly because I knew she would use anything she could to hurt me, Sebastian, and the kids.

the-most-dangerous-liars-are-those-who-think-they-are-telling-the-truth-quote-1The really sad thing is that this “anonymous” blog is filled with exaggerations and lies. The biggest one being that she has “inoperable stage three breast cancer.” This is a complete and total lie, she does not have breast cancer, let alone inoperable stage three breast cancer. She claims on the blog that she’s moving “herself and her daughter from the city they love to another state to live with a friend so she has support while fighting cancer” when the truth is that she was fired from her job because she’s a really awful person and her boss and coworkers didn’t like her because she’s a bitch to everyone around her. She wasn’t able to find a job, not even a much lower paying clerical job; so she’s moving to another state because basically no one likes her. She’s supposedly going to be getting help for her mental health problems but I doubt that, especially given this new blog filled with dramatic claims that are completely untrue. We are going to be watching the blog for a GoFundMe link because I suspect she’s going to start trying to get money from people for her “cancer treatments.”

She also claims to be in an “expensive and difficult custody battle” over Bruce, when the truth is that she told him she didn’t want him to come back home in one of her rages, and he used that excuse to move back home with Sebastian because he just can’t take the emotional and psychological abuse anymore. It’s really not surprising that her blog is filled with really fantastical lies. She’s been making up new and increasingly crazy stories about things Sebastian “did to her” when they were married. The latest is that he “threw a refrigerator at her.” She also claimed Bruce saw this happen and Bruce has absolutely no memory of that or of anything that would have to accompany such an attack such as doctor’s visits, or cleaning up the mess that something like that would cause. She mentioned on the blog that Sebastian “liked to use his fists” so she’s obviously working up to some sort of battered ex-wife lie which is sad because there is so much domestic violence in this country, and so many people who don’t get help or can’t get help, who are legitimately scared for their lives, to lie about it is to slap actual domestic violence survivors in the face. She’s always wanted attention, but I can’t imagine what she thinks this blog will accomplish. Probably she will never even update it again past the first post. She’s not going to get a lot of instant attention unless she shares it with family and friends. It takes work to get traffic to your blog.

I think what frustrates me the most about it is that she continues to paint herself as some sort of a victim, like Sebastian is still “torturing” her after she “escaped” their “horribly abusive” marriage. When the truth is, a year after their divorce, he’s still paying on all her credit card bills that he for some reason agreed to take responsibility for when they divorced. She purposely ran up charges on the Victoria Secret credit card that was in his name after they separated, and then stuck him with the nearly $2,000 bill. Even though he’s taken complete responsibility for Bruce, he’s still paying child support for Harley. He’s not asking his ex-wife for a cent, and he’s the one who has paid the lawyer to draw up the new papers (they used the same lawyer for their divorce.) I’m honestly sometimes surprised he’s not paying to move her to the other state. He basically gives her so much money he often eats ramen, as a grown, professional, 41 year old man. I hate her so much that I wish I could slap her in the face, and I have never been a violent person. She makes me sick, that people like her exist in the world. I don’t see that she gives anything positive to the world or the people around her, she’s just a waste. It’s sad, because I know her childhood must have been really f****** up to make her this sick and mentally ill, but how many people should one person be allowed to hurt and use? It just makes me angry that anyone would believe the lies that she tells, when Sebastian has gone out of his way to be nice and helpful and BEYOND fair to her the entire time they’ve separated and divorced.