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).

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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.

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Parenting Fails – 50 Shades of Grey

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We found out last night that Sebastian’s ex-wife watched “50 Shades of Grey” with his fifteen year old son and ten year old daughter. Yes, the rated R, sexually explicit, BDSM film. Super appropriate, no? Remind me how he’s the bad parent?

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.

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.

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