Co-Parenting with a Narcissist

A Narcissistic Co-Parent

OK, to the nudge of a good friend who’s been there through it all for me…I am going to finish my post on dealing with a Narcissistic Co-Parent.  I have always known that my ex (well since the point in which he showed his true colors) was a Narcissist…but it wasn’t exactly an a-ha moment until I started my research.

I came across this amazing article on Facebook…

New Research Says Anxiety Disorders And Depression Are Linked To Narcissistic Abuse

When I read this article, I began to realize exactly why my ex and his flying monkey (girlfriend) are able to make me feel so terrible.  It was life-changing.  The article, along with the fact that none of us were getting along, prompted me to go to a therapist to seek help in co-parenting with very uncompromising people.  At first I was drawn to the article because I have very situational anxiety.  I never had anxiety before I met my ex-husband.  When we were married, and even before that, I felt very anxious all of the time because I felt like I had all of our shared responsibility on my shoulders alone.  Still, my anxiety can be directly linked to him but I am able to recognize it and deal with it.

What was so astounding to me was the fact that both my ex and his girlfriend were constantly abusing me.  They are both awful to me, but he is very verbally and emotionally abusive.  Today, for example, he called me an “idiot” and “retarded” because of an email I wrote our son’s school asking if “my ex-husband” could please be added to the email distribution list.  He felt the need to write the administrative assistant back with “by ex-husband she means her son’s father.”  I was so embarrassed but mostly for him.  This is an example of his true, Narcissistic behavior.  It has nothing to do with our son.  He didn’t even use punctuation and yet accused me of not being professional.  Nothing to do with our son.  This was simply a need for him to receive attention and try to make me look bad because that makes him actually feel good.

Narcissists lie and sabotage others to feel better about themselves.  I know all of my ex’s weaknesses and insecurities.  I know that they exist, even though he strives to portray the idea that he has none.  I bought this book at the beach that I posted on my Instagram and it guided me through endless situations that I have been through with this man that exemplify a Narcissist.

Once I was able to put a name to this abuse I was receiving, I was able to put a stop to it.  I have had amazing support from my friends and family, but seeing a professional about the situation helped me realize that I’m not crazy, I’m dealing with someone with a disorder. His main goal in life is to make me feel crazy.  She simply said, “You tell him you will discuss “who, what, where, when” about the children and only communicate with the girlfriend in emergency situations.  I have stood by this policy since then and my “care-factor” has greatly decreased.  Before, I was wound up in the idea that enough time has passed, we should all be civil and friendly.  Now, I know that is simply not possible and I accept that.  I could never be friends with him.  He is a Narcissist who, when “done” with the people he’s dealing with, chews them up and spits them out.  He uses people for what they have to offer him and when he’s not receiving anything else from the relationship, he cuts the person off.

Narcissists also have no empathy.  I used to assume this just meant that they can’t put themselves in another person’s shoes.  What it also means is that they simply do not care how other people feel.  They do not care because it does not serve them. He does not see anything wrong with how he abandoned his family because it positively affected him.  That made it OK… Narcissist’s do not concern themselves with how others feel unless it directly affects them.

I think a lot of men and women probably deal with Narcissists and don’t even realize it. Many are married to them. For a long time I used to just write off my ex-husband’s behavior by thinking he just has a “salesman’s personality.” Once I discovered my reality and behavior patterns to anticipate from him, his silly name calling and incessant anger towards me barely even phases me. It’s very freeing.

Co-Parenting with a Narcissist

City, Sea Air, Babies, and Gaslighting

I was so sad when I looked back at my blog and the last post was about me feeling off-balance.  I haven’t felt that way in so long!  I haven’t written since then because I have been having too much fun I guess?  What’s funny, is that I did write a blog about the humors and ironies of “Bumble” – the dating app.  The majority of this post (still saved in drafts) is a list of all the things I loathe about trying to find and meet a decent human, male specifically.  I deleted the app after canceling probably 4 dates with potentially decent humans.  Luckily for me, the one I was destined to meet, asked me for my number just prior to my deleting the app.  He’s wonderful.  I may have to show him my cynical “Bumble” post and see if there’s anything to add from the male perspective.

I cannot be thankful enough that I chose a profession that allows me to spend the whole summer with my children.  We have spent the summer back and forth between the beach, the city, and our pool.  We’ve laughed a lot and most importantly, caught up with all the lost time we experienced with my parents when my mom was receiving chemo treatments the last two summers.  Not enough can be said about an attitude of gratitude and the positive effects it can have on the soul.

What I am most thankful for is the answer I finally received in my heart about the father of my children.  Because I am in the most vulnerable state with him- he’s the person who cares for the center of my world from time to time- I feel like I’ve been in this bubble of his gaslighting – this is a form of abuse where the abuser makes the victim question his or her sanity and abilities to perceive reality.  For example, when we would disgree on something he would say these triggers such as “it’s all in your head” or his favorite, I’m “batshit crazy.” This came to my attention when I listened to an awesome podcast on “Stuff Your Mom Never Told You” – seriously, check it out.

Gaslighting 101

As the ladies in the podcast explain, it’s very freeing to be able to put a name to the treatment you’re receiving from someone.  This also started my investigation into Narcissism.  My ex is surely a Narcissist but some of the things I’ve been reading are really bringing to light how very naive I was in my marriage and how I can take control of my thoughts and feelings now.

Stay tuned : )

About Me (Mommy Mels)

Off-Balance

When I talk to my friends about where I am in life, in terms of recovering from my divorce and being ready for something serious, my response is that I am still off-balance.  There is something that feels off still.  I don’t feel like I am ready for anything serious yet, but also, nothing in that category has come along.

Perhaps my heart was waiting for what it always knew…that my husband was always a cheater.  Recently, I had an a-ha moment.  By accident, my phone brought up a number that I had saved.  It was the number of a girl that used to work for my ex.  I had it in my phone because I used to help him with some administrative stuff with his job.  He fired the girl “because she went crazy and was telling crazy lies, like she wanted to tell you (me, his wife) that we slept together.” He even showed me the texts.  He said, “look at this lunatic and her lies!” She quit/got fired/whatever.  Never heard from her again.  I totally believe him.

Holy crap.  This asshole 100% slept with her.  This happened around Thanksgiving when we had an almost-1 year old and when, I believed, we were very happy.  Originally when we were breaking up and he had an affair, I always believed that it was because he became so unhappy.  That wasn’t the case.  He always cheated.

I will be honest, I tried reaching out to the girl.  I wanted some kind of corroboration to this story that left my heart hurting.  She has 4 different Facebook accounts.

This morning I came across this meme and boy does it hit home.

My ex recently had another baby with his current girlfriend.  Friends have wanted to know how I feel about that.  Indifferent about the baby and relationship, very sorry for the girlfriend.  I really feel like she is his next victim but she won’t have the cushion to land on that I did.  He’s winding himself up in another spiral of debt and over-committing to financial obligations that I know he can’t fulfill.

In no way to I miss my ex.  Being with him would be a total living nightmare.  I don’t even miss the “family dynamic” I thought I had anymore.  I am so happy with my little boys.  My soul, 2 years and some months later, is just still off – balance a little.  I have a very cynical view on men.  Many man I’ve gone on dates with have in fact cheated on their wives too.  Do they all cheat?  I have friends, married friends, who insist they do.  Who knows.  When I stop caring I’ll know that I am more balanced.  In the meantime, it’s momming and fun with friends and family.  I am feeling very positive about this summer as well!  How could I not?  I’m off for 9 weeks.

It takes a really long time to get through a divorce.  It’s not easy.

Dating 101 at 36 with Little Ones at Home...

Adventures in Dating as a 35-Year-Old- Single-Mom

OK… here are the facts:

  1. It’s hard
  2. It’s entertaining AF
  3. It’s STILL better than being married to a cheating ass

So I have officially been single for 2 years and divorced for 1.  I am right in the thick of my adult (single-parent) dating life.  Some really awesome things have happened to me.  I have an amazing support system that keeps me going and keeps me reminded of the fact that I am, under no circumstance, willing to settle.  My support comes from my family, my “Day Ones,” my college roomies, awesome work squad, and a few other amazing women who have always been there for me.  The most important things my village reminds me of is the fact that 1. Real men are out there 2. There are a lot of loser playboys out there and 3. I don’t need a damn either one of them. My friends and family are so much fun to be around that I truly do not feel like something is missing.

I was in a committed relationship for around 6 months with a man who was not ready to be in one.  His wounds were far too fresh and he often took this out on me.  It was difficult to identify this but as always, my people were there to help me. Eventually, I realized that, as my mom put it, “The right man will never make you cry.”  It was awful to let her see me cry but at the same time, it brought us closer and helped me realize that I had let my standards down for a few weeks and that is unacceptable.  I am first and foremost a mother and I am raising two boys to be men.  How dare I let them see me cry over someone who certainly wasn’t crying over me.

This actually ended at the right time, although I did wish I hadn’t let it go on as long as I did.  Either way, I made the decision to part ways with this fella and I have been undoubtly happier since.

Now I am dating.  I also have a few friends in the same boat and I have to say, if it is nothing else, it is entertaining AF! This a-ha moment came to me over margaritas last week with two girlfriends. Personally, I don’t want to spend a moment thinking about a man who isn’t swooning over me.  I mean, completely swooning.  Do I?  Occasionally – but definitely not currently.  My one friend is broken-hearted over a man who won’t commit to her because his family doesn’t approve of her.  My other lunch date has a ton of fun meeting new guys.  For some reason she cannot explain, she has caught feelings for her “F-boy” who is probably still hooking up with an ex and lies to her all the time.  My a-ha moment came when I realized that I am completely single and not waiting for or worrying about anyone texting me or not texting me.  I want to embrace this moment forever.  It is an amazing feeling.

That being said, I went out to dinner with a “friend” recently who has his own “stuff” he’s getting through.  I met a 25-year old at the bar who wanted to marry me but only after he checked with my bestie to make sure I’m “not a whore.”  I had 1 date with a dentist who wasn’t swooning over me, but asked me out again…only to not take me out again.  I have an old fling who wants to see me again but never drove anywhere when we saw each other before which is just strange… I also have a match.com account I can’t figure out how to delete.  Why would I want to delete it?  Because those men all seem to want to cuff up and the free sites, like “Bumble” are full of men who only want to see pics of the play-by-play of my day.

The freedom of being single and happy?  I don’t have to pay attention to any of them.  Mr. Right will swoon over me, and that’s how I’ll know.

About Me (Mommy Mels)

What it means to be a BOSS

What makes someone a boss?

Being humble and taking care of shit.

Every day I strive to be a boss lady. I no longer desire to be THE boss lady… but maybe someday? In the meantime I’m not even working towards the classes that would require.

So what am I doing? I’m humble AF and know that all I have is a blessing. I only became a boss after I lost it all and had to work to get it all back. There’s my humble piece.

Taking care of shit is a whole other realm of responsibility.

On New Years Eve, I had to show a girl at the bar that I was a boss. This beautiful tall millennial threw a little hissy fit because I “got in front of her” in line at the bar. First of all sweetheart, this is a bar, there is no line. Second of all, what are you drinking? Two Long Islands. Got it… two seconds and smiles later, drinks in hand. Are you paying for my drinks? Yes. Thank you! Kiss? Sure. Happy New Year!! Darling, real women don’t speak to each other like that. Happy New Year.

The next morning, my sweets wanted to know how the heck I had a $54 tab for two drinks for us?! Love, I had to show a girl what is like to be a boss. Wow Mel, that’s an expensive lesson.

It was, but I have that money because I work HARD for it. In the New Year, I’m tightening up even more because a boss takes care of shit. My children will always be taken care of before me and as I’ve always be taught to worry about the future, I am buggin a little about paying for college etc. My children will know what it was like to be raised by a boss – JUST like I was- and in addition, I’m a Lady Boss. They will respect the hell out of women as well.

The other day my 4 – year -old received a lesson on doing laundry. Again- I was taking care of shit. Putting their clothes in the laundry basket is one of their nightly chores. One they won’t receive training on from their father- that was my bad. Before I was a boss- this is MY LIFE and it is beautiful.

Be a boss.

Co-Parenting with a Narcissist

What in the Hell is it actually like?

Seriously, I used to tell my ex-husband that my best friend was living my worse nightmare (a couple of friends, actually- one was single, ones husband left).  I used to wonder what the HELL that would be like at my age and status.  Then, low and behold, he pulled the rug out from under me when I had a 5 – week – old baby.  Oh and a two year old.  This was almost two years ago.

What is it like?  Most days are great.  Most days.  Most days I look at my two beautiful children and think, “boy am I lucky I have these two little miracles and DON’T have to deal with their father!” He’s someone else’s baggage now.  Thank the sweet baby Jesus.  No, really.  He was an awful husband but I would have stayed with him for the sake of my family for at least a little longer.

So there’s the relief of not having to be stuck in a miserable marriage.  Then there’s the insanity of dating.  I call it insanity because sometimes it’s sooooo fun, and sometimes it really sucks.  I’ve fallen in love again since my marriage ended, only to have my heart broken.  It stings, but nothing will ever hurt as bad as what my husband did… so I don’t fear heartache. I’ve had suggestions from dear friends to not date at all- that it’s a waste of time because I’m not ready and have things to deal with.  This may be partially true, but at the same time, I feel like dating is definitely more fun than not.  There is no shortage of men to go out to dinner with and as long as I take things slowly (which I admittedly have not always) then I think it’s a safe bet. There is so much to learn about myself still and I really pride myself on the fact that as soon as I see red flags, I remove myself from the situation.

My ex and I are usually on good terms but it has NOT always been that way.  For this reason, I won’t even go on a date with someone who is only “separated.” I had to navigate through some serious uncharted waters in the first AND second year of my separation. The one to finally reel me in wasn’t ready himself.  Like I said, it hurt and I miss him at times, but what a revelation.  This is the beginning of year 3 without a husband.  I still have so much to learn. I am however, at a very happy and confident place.  I’ve never been more confident in what is important to me, and who I am as a human.  I am out of the water in terms of treading… my parents are well and can watch my children when I need to do adult things… like bachelorette parties.

One thing I have found really astounding was that I firmly have no desire to have more children.  When I first was alone, my friends would re-assure me that I would have a girl someday with my perfect husband that I was yet to find.  I appreciate that but my ex-husband has another baby on the way and that has me feeling all types of ways for my own children.  As if he hasn’t given them the shaft enough in this lifetime, he’s going to bring yet another person into this world that will take away from the time and attention he gives them.  It’s heartbreaking for them, and I will never do anything to make them feel that way.

I’m on my 3rd holiday season without my ex-husband.  He left the day after Thanksgiving.  Since that Thanksgiving was a 2-day bender for him that resulted in my discovering an affair, I didn’t even enjoy that last holiday together.   Last years holidays were pretty good, but the ex and I were still not getting along too well.  This year is much more established and no part of him or that family facade I tried to paint will be missed.

So here’s to year three… may I be smart, resilient, have fun, and stop over-thinking.

And save more money.

About Me (Mommy Mels)

Why this single mom is NOT mad at Kristin Cavallari (and neither should you be)

Single momming

What a great time of year, right?  End of summer… school is starting. Hearts are warm.

I am back to work which means I have more time to myself- ironic, but my 90 minute planning period is 90 minutes alone I didn’t have most of the summer unless I was sweating it out in the gym OR my kids were with their dad.  My kids are with dad this morning, so I am enjoying coffee and Kings of Leon alone in my bedroom; I’ve been awake since 6 am because my brain doesn’t turn work or mom off.  I appreciate this time and capitalize on my time without my children to keep my sanity.  I would give it up in a heartbeat to have my children 24/7 but that is not fair to them.  They need time with their dad and his family as much as they need their mother.

While back at work this week I saw a headline in the news about single moms being “outraged” with her “single- mom” comment…

Kristin Cavallari Huff Post article

The first “feeling” I got when I read this was one of empathy.  Before I had no husband, I had an absentee husband.  That was worse.  I’m not saying Jay Cutler is an absentee husband, but – he’s in Miami and she’s in Nashville, according to this article.  When we get married and say our vows we don’t visualize the time we spend raising our children alone while our husbands are out working.  THAT is hard AF. Does this woman have a nanny?  Yes.  Does her husband make bank?  Does she?  Yes and Yes.  Do I ?  Hell no, I am a teacher and my ex is has very questionable financial aim, at best.

Does that mean her shit is easy and she doesn’t struggle?  Hell no.  Everyone has their shit.  She has to do all of the things I do alone and it is hard.  For every single mom, there is a probably a married mom out there with a husband who’s at work she doesn’t see him as much as she wants… (to say the least).  I’ll be honest, I take my kids to the Y in the summer and see all the stay-at-home moms who fight for their husband’s attention as much as they can… and dad’s want to be around (and most don’t need to find attention elsewhere like mine).  But they are torn between emails on the phone and answering texts about work while trying to get in some pool time with their children.  These woman go to swim meets without their husband, they go to tumbling classes without their husband…and they feel sad that he can’t be around.  I’ve been there.  I know what it’s like and it is heartbreaking at times.

This life of a mom who does more than dad because dad has to work is a choice, but that doesn’t make it an easy one.  Having children is a choice, but that doesn’t make it easy.  Wive’s who pick up the domestic slack while Husband is away working don’t have it any easier than this single mom… in fact, I believe in many ways it is more difficult.  My marriage didn’t work out and I have an opportunity to choose a partner who is around every night for dinner and on the weekends.  In the meantime, I have a couple mornings and evenings when I can take care of Mel.  I typically clean my house or work out, but I do it without the fear of someone catapulting himself off of the couch on to a pile of cushions and attempting a landing on a tile floor or hardwood floor.  (I’m sure Kristin has a cleaning service-beside the point).

We all have our struggles and we all have our shit.  Just because Kristin’s bank account doesn’t match mine, doesn’t mean she has it easy.  You can call yourself a single mom, Kristin… and to those Haters who say you can’t:  they are not happy with themselves.  It has nothing to do with Kristin Cavallari.  She’s their scapegoat.  I say that about any complainers.  Let’s face it, yes we all vent – but to be truly happy, we don’t need to bash a celebrity because she’s publicly venting about her mommy struggles that we all have in one form or another.

You go, Kristin.  You’re kicking ass and taking names.  AND looking amazing.

I do wish I could afford her trainer …