While Ted and I were going through our high-conflict divorce, we both wanted the chance to speak with our children while in the other parent’s care. We had a stipulation of a daily 15 minute phone call put in the divorce decree.
The phone call game has gone on since day one. It is simply amazing how someone who NEEDS control over every aspect of his ex and children’s lives can manipulate a simple call.
Grant and Kristy will be told they can’t answer at times when I call. The phone is often forwarded to Ted’s work number, other numbers ( I assume his wife’s cell?) but mostly to the home number. I am only allowed to call his cell number, but calls are never answered if they are away from home. If I do not send Grant and Kristy to their room during my parenting time to talk to him, he will not allow phone calls. I asked for the same respect, and was denied. He will only agree for them to leave the room and go to another open room on the main level of the house.
If I call back and Ted hasn’t decided yet that I am allowed to talk and Kristy answers the phone anyway, she receives a verbal lashing.
While on vacation, Ted claims the phone reception is too bad at the campground where he and his family stay every year, yet Kristy answered on their first night from inside the camper last year. When I actually do get a call returned, they are almost always calling from the campground, with extended family members around them so loud, they can’t hear me on the phone. I usually average 3 phone calls total over their 11 or 12 day vacation.
Last fall on one of my parenting nights, Grant told me at the last minute we had to go to a mandatory meeting at school that night. We rushed through dinner after returning from Kristy’s dance class, and during dinner Ted tried to call 3 times. Dinner time is the only time I will send a call to voice mail. While Grant and I were driving to school, I was trying to have a serious conversation with him when Ted called two more times. I asked Grant to please wait to return his call after the meeting, which he felt was a fair request. Ted decided that since I disobeyed his many attempts to call that one night, he would no longer allow phone calls. This went on for two months.
Kristy is always berated if Ted catches her texting me. During that two months, she was flat out told she was not allowed to text me.
While we attended our court ordered parent coordinator for two years, I complained often about phone call games. Ted would lie, saying he had problems with phone calls too, so the PC would dismiss anything further on the subject. This is a common game of the narcissist. If he can blame enough and get someone in the system to listen, anything you have to say will be dismissed.
It is now Monday evening, I have talked to Grant for 7 minutes since Friday morning. I have not talked to Kristy at all. Kristy texted me today while dad was at work for a couple hours, but once she heard the garage door open, she said she had to go.
On Wednesday evening when I have my parenting time, the phone will be answered when it rings, much to Kristy’s grumbling and rolling of the eyes. My message to both Grant and Kristy…I respect your love for dad and I will not come between you. Talk as long as you wish, but I know he would like to hear about your day. (then I throw up a little in my mouth)
Ted needs to control and manipulate as much of my time as he can. He feels the need to punish me for leaving him….still.
I used to get very down and let the lack of communication between Grant, Kristy and I affect my mood for days. I would circle in the dark depths of my depression, hashing and rehashing my nasty email addressing the subject…until I learned that is exactly what he wanted. Ted needs that supply from me.
I will no longer give Ted that kind of power over me. Yes, at first I get very frustrated because it always seems to happen when I need to tell the kids something important, but I now deal with it by NOT fighting it. I allow myself to feel it, then I let it go.
I ask myself if this will be important in a year. The answer is always “No.”
I document it, then I get busy writing, cleaning the house, or take the dogs on a walk. Narcissists are nicknamed Emotional Vampires. I am healing, and I am in control of how much I let him “suck” from me, which is less and less every day. Narcissists HATE losing that control over us, and that makes me smile.