The past few weeks have been rough. I have had about a million things going on in about a million different directions. I have not been able to work as many hours as I need. My mortgage company is trying to foreclose on my home, which I am fighting. Ted is creating as much drama as he can about sending Grant to one of the most expensive private schools in our area for high school, promising him he will make sure I pay at least half. Ted is also creating drama about one of Kristy’s activities, 4H.
On top of it all, Kristy has been opening up about the emotional abuse she endures while at Ted’s home. I do not want to pressure her or ask. I let her tell me as she feels she wants to, and I listen. Part of me doesn’t want to know the level of abuse because no one who can do anything legally will listen to her until she is 14, and Ted refuses to allow the kids to see a psychologist. The courts don’t care about emotional abuse, anyway. I also fear a psychologist would be turned into another pawn.
I try hard…so very hard…to just listen and support. It’s so hard to listen and not interject. This past weekend, she told me how “insane” she believes dad can be. She told me how he YELLS at her telling her I get very angry when she is on vacation with him and hate when she has a good time while in his care. She is constantly accused of taking my “side.” She was told last week that I am incapable of showing sympathy. Ted has been yelling at Kristy lately about how much I brainwash her.
Ted projects this way often. He is a textbook narcissist and Kristy is placed under a lot of stress while in his home.
A long time ago, I made a conscious decision to embrace and concentrate on happy memories Grant and Kristy have, no matter which parent they are with. I want them to have as normal of childhood as they can, considering they are drug in the middle of high conflict divorce. How can I expect them to share their lives and happy memories with me if I react negatively? They deserve better than that from their mom. I listen and ask open ended questions, responding cheerfully. I don’t need to have the BEST memories with them or worry about giving them the BEST gifts. I just want to be a part of their lives, and happy memories, too. I don’t need to be number one, just “too.”
My parenting time with Grant and Kristy is spent being silly, laughing, singing, dancing, and creating as much fun as I can during my short time with them. This past weekend, we visited with my grandparents, watched a lot of movies (including Frozen twice!! Kristy and I have been singing Let It Go since), played outside, and took the dogs for a visit at one of my jobs, a ventilator unit at a nursing home. Grant had a friend down the street spend the night, so there was even more activity than normal. By mid afternoon on Sunday, Kristy always has a comment how fast the weekend went. This is the time we both start feeling the weight of 6:00, when Grant and Kristy go back to dad’s.
Kristy has wanted to join 4H for over a year now. Last fall she was invited by a classmate’s mom to be in their group once meetings started again. The meetings, unfortunately, are once a month and not on my parenting night, so I emailed Ted the information. I offered to find a group on my parenting night if he was not available to take her, although she preferred this group since some of her classmates are in this group.
He begrudgingly took Kristy to the first meeting last month, complaining the entire way there, especially about the cost. Kristy reminded him of his refusal to contribute to her dance class or toward her recital costume.
Last week was the second 4H meeting. First, he put her through two days of hell, refusing to tell her whether or not he would take her to the meeting. She texted me crying, and I told her I could take her. She mentioned this to Ted, and he yelled again, telling her if I ever showed up to a meeting, he would never take her again. She asked why she couldn’t have both of her parents there, telling him she would sit in the middle and we wouldn’t even have to talk. He replied he would never sit by me, because of the terrible things I have done.
This is very typical behavior from Ted, only no one in the system believes it. His projections, mirroring and gas lighting make me appear to be the incompetent, uncaring, disengaged mom. The system will not listen to me about the real problems he creates.
When I left Ted, it was because I no longer wanted to live in his world of control and manipulation. I never thought he would legally be allowed to have as much control over my life as he still does. The system seems to embrace this type of personality, their actions being the opposite of their words.
So, what can I do? I can refuse to be hooked in to his emails. (The only way I will communicate with him.) I no longer engage. I can be cheerful, and happy, which he hates. Narcissists want their victims to be as inwardly tortured as they are. I won’t be any more. I can control how others make me feel, and I will no longer be drug down by him. I may be stuck between a rock and a hard place until Kristy turns 14, so while I am here I am going to climb on top of my rock and dance.