Narcissists are insidious

If you’ve read anything about narcissists and recovering from narcissistic abuse, you know that the best thing to do when you’re trying to get away from a narcissist is zero contact. The reason for this is that a narcissist is insidious.

narcissists are insidiousI’m a big fan of horror movies. Even if you’re not, you’ve probably heard of the movie Insidious, it’s had a lot of sequels. (I’ll try to keep this spoiler free!) I started thinking about how in Insidious, the little boy is haunted by an evil ghost. In photos, his mother noticed that the woman in a black veil kept getting closer and closer to him. It’s one of the creepiest parts of the movie. Little by little, the ghost is getting close enough to touch the little boy. So slowly and imperceptibly to the naked eye! You can only see the ghost in the photos.

Obviously the little boy’s mother was scared. Is there an evil ghost in a veil stalking her son?! Finally, in the very last photo, the scary old woman’s hand is nearly grabbing the boy’s shoulder. His mother stopped taking photos after that.

The word insidious means: “Proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects” and “treacherous or crafty.” Nothing describes a narcissist more perfectly. When you start to have even the slightest bit of contact with the narcissist, it might seem harmless at first – in fact, like any cycle of abuse they are usually extra nice when they’re trying to trick you into letting your guard down. Some might even apologize for what you’ve told them they have done to you, although it’s just a trick. The narcissistic personality does nothing wrong, and they have no problem pacifying you. They likely don’t remember or don’t care what they’ve done to hurt you in the past, the point is to get what they want.

a narcissist tricks you into trusting again If you have found the strength to go no contact with the narcissist, the the ultimate prize in this game is YOU. Even if he or she threw you away, called you horrible names, devalued you, divorced you, told everyone you were a horrible person, it doesn’t matter. As soon as it is your choice to not speak to them, they simply have to be in your life again. They can move on – you cannot. This is why you have to avoid returning calls, text messages, block them all social media, and never let your guard down. If you only do it 99 times out of 100, just like the little boy in Insidious, the narcissist will grab you from behind, latch on, and mess with your head until you start to think you were wrong about all that emotional abuse that you used to be so sure that they subjected you too. Maybe you overreacted, maybe you’re being unfair, everyone makes mistakes right? They wouldn’t want you back in their life if they didn’t care!

InsidiousWRONG. Back away from the phone. A narcissist cares about three things: themselves, their reputation/the way they are perceived by others, and winning. As soon as they have control over you again, they’ll stop wanting you.

Unfortunately it’s a lot harder to go no contact with a parent than it is to go no contact with your abusive ex-spouse. And that brings us to where we are today. The evil woman in the veil (aka Cruella) has got her claws back in her son, Bruce. After over a year of little contact with her and zero one on one contact, just two weeks after his therapist thought he was doing well enough that he didn’t need to come any more, he agreed to have brunch with her.

It’s hard not to just go, WTF kid?! Are you doing too well you have to go and mess it up for yourself?

But I understand. I have a parent who is very self centered and never empathized with me as a kid and just like Charlie Brown, you always go to kick that damned football and they always pull it away at the last moment. Every single time, you are surprised. Even if you’ve done it hundreds of times before. We are hard-wired to trust our parents, I think it must be biological.

We can’t stop him from spending time with her. He starts college in a week, his mistakes are his to make. It just makes me so angry because just a couple months ago, she posted a photo on facebook from many years ago. In it, she had a giant bruise on her arm that she had gotten during fitness bootcamp. She wrote this long, completely false story about how Sebastian had “beat” her for the last time the day she got that. She said all these things that were completely untrue, even lying about what she and the kids had done that day. She lies about everything, even inconsequential things! Supposedly their neighbor had witnessed it but did nothing. Sebastian hadn’t even gone over to her house that night (this incident allegedly happened after they separated.) So we of course get sent it, by more than two people actually, and even Bruce was like “what the hell, that never happened!” It’s hard for me to understand how he can look past that. So a couple Saturdays ago, Bruce left the house and spent over EIGHT HOURS with his mother. Just his mother, not even his mother and his sister. He didn’t tell Sebastian much about what happened, just that “she kind of took responsibility for everything she had said and done.” It’s just a trick though. Sadly I know that, and Sebastian knows that, but Bruce can’t or won’t see it.

It’s hard for me to understand, even knowing we are programmed to trust our parents, that he can just let her off the hook for lying about Sebastian beating her, just a couple months ago! How can he just look past that? He lives with this father, he loves his father, he knows that his father never beat his mother, yet he has apparently forgiven her for posting on facebook that Sebastian physically abused her!

The saddest part about it, if you have been hit by a loved on or spouse, you know that you don’t proudly take photos with your bruises prominently displayed, grinning like you think you are the hottest person in the room! You hide them, you cover them up with makeup, scarfs, and sweaters even in the summer – you are ashamed. You are terrified that someone might see and figure it out. It’s just another example of how this vile, disgusting creature lies and portrays herself as a victim in order to get attention. All she cares about is people on facebook, her so-called “friends,” telling her how brave and strong she is, how proud they are that she got out. It’s despicable, given that she actually hit Sebastian many times and also disgraceful because there are so many people that die every day because of spousal abuse. But there’s nothing this woman will not say or do to get attention. There’s no lie she won’t tell. She will throw anyone under the bus if it means that people will praise her. It makes me sick that Bruce is opening himself up to this evil woman again and it makes me even sicker that there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.

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).

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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.

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.