In part one and part two of my story, I discuss how I no longer feel responsible for his behavior and, how I found it so easy to fall in love with him. Today I want to discuss how my covert narcissist destroyed our children.
I guess I should say, nearly destroyed because, thankfully, for them, I was always there to guide them through the damage he did to them. Even with my guidance and love, the damage is there and will last their entire lifetime.
There is nothing more heart wrenching than having no recourse against someone who is doing grave emotional harm to your children. If a stranger had done what their father did, I would have had recourse. But, since it was their father, the family court system turned a blind eye to his behavior.
It started from the beginning, the very beginning before I even knew there would be a divorce.
I’m sharing this information in bullet points in order to keep my thoughts straight and not running together. We’ve been divorced for nearly 2 decades, there is no way I can share the entire story but, these are issues I remember as being the most damaging.
How My Covert Narcissistic Ex Nearly Destroyed Our Children
- He made the decision to divorce without a discussion with me. One day he was there, the next he was gone. Here is how he told our children before he ever told me. He went to our older son’s school and checked him out of school. He told our son, to not ask him any questions, to get in the car and he would explain after they picked up our younger son. He then went to our younger son’s school and checked him out. Once they were all in the car, the boys in the backseat, he turned, looked at them and said, “Your Mom and I are getting divorced. I’m leaving and never coming home.” Needless to say, our sons became very emotional. They thought they came from a happy home and family. He had just dropped a bomb on them. They begged and pleaded for an explanation, but he refused to look at or respond to their questions and evident distress. He pulled up into the driveway or our home and told them to get out. He left them standing in the driveway, crying with our youngest who was six at the time, writhing on the ground.
- He didn’t see the children for a month after that and when he did, he was only interested in spending time with our youngest. When our oldest son, asked him why he never invited him to visit his father told him, “because I have a deeper bond with your little brother. “I think I love him more than I love you.” I told him he couldn’t take one without taking both, that I would not allow him to ignore the needs of our older son. So, he began visiting with both boys. The problem? Both boys had questions about why he left, why he was doing what he was doing. He refused to answer their questions or allow them to ask questions. He said, “I won’t have my time with you marred by unpleasant conversation.”
- Our oldest eventually stopped going on visitations with him and requested his Dad join him in therapy to work through their “relationship issues.” His Dad refused therapy together but said he would see our son’s therapist on his own when he had time. When asked by our son why he didn’t want to go with him, he responded with, “I don’t owe you anything, not my time, not my feelings, NOTHING.” That’s when our oldest son gave up on his father.
- It’s been 14 years since he’s had a conversation or spent any time with our oldest son. My ex has a DIL and granddaughter that he has never met and, given his actions must not have an interest in meeting. He also has a grown son who is in therapy to deal with the damage done by a father who abandoned him.
- My ex continued to visit with our youngest son. He saw him once a month. No phone calls, email or contact between those once a month visits. Our younger son would email and text him, but he never got a response. He asked his Dad to call on Tuesday nights to help him study for spelling tests. His father refused. He asked his Dad to help him build a car for the Boy Scout’s Pinewood Derby, his father refused.
- Three years after our divorce my ex became seriously involved in a relationship with a woman who had an older daughter. That is when he completely cut off our younger son. He had no communication or face-to-face contact with your youngest or oldest sons for six years.
- When our younger son was 16, he had a psychotic break. He was hospitalized and diagnosed with PTSD and Bi-Polar Disorder. His medical records state “Psychosis due to parental abandonment.” According to the Psychiatrist our son needed his father. The Psychiatrist called my ex and my ex told him that there was nothing he could do to help. That what was going on was my fault, not his. How could it be his fault because he hadn’t seen the kid is six years. The psychiatrist told him that, that was exactly why our son was having issues. My ex hung up on him.
- It’s been another 8 years with no contact from their father. Since the day he left the marriage he has not sent a Christmas gift, Birthday gift, attended a graduation, wedding or acknowledge the important things in their lives.
I’m happy to report that both sons are flourishing. They are stable, ethical men. Both have great careers and one has a lovely family. The majority of their day-to-day lives are lived without thought of their Dad and what he did to them.
They both, however, are in therapy. One is on medication he’ll take for the rest of his life and neither will be rid of the scars left by a covert narcissistic father who discarded them as if they were dirt on his shoes.
The Family Courts and Emotional Abuse of a Child
You can protect your child via the courts if they’re being emotionally abused. You can request a custody evaluation, get a Guardian Ad Litem for them, or a psyche evaluation. There is nothing you can do via the courts to protect a child from abandonment by a father.
Google, “Legally forcing a man to visit his children” and you’ll come up with nothing. I came up with one article that said, “visitation is a privilege, not a legal responsibility?” Since a man who abandons his children isn’t breaking any laws there is no way to hold them legally responsible for the damage done by their abandonment.
That’s why I tell other mothers who are dealing with the damage done by such fathers that it’s up to them to clean up the mess to the best of their ability. It’s up to all us mothers who’ve watched a narcissistic father damage his children to do our best to cushion the damage being done.
We can’t fill the hole left by an absent father. That isn’t within our power. We can let our children know that we are their “ride or die.” We can promote their emotional wellbeing by enlisting friends and relatives to show them love and support.
If you’re lucky you’ve got a brother or father who can step in and take up some of the slack and become surrogate fathers. It still won’t fill that hole left by the father but, there is never too much love and caring given to children who’ve been abandoned.
I was thinking about the Catholic church the other day and how suits can be filed by people who were molested by Priests. My hope is that one day, adults who were abandoned by a parent will have the same right to sue that parent for punitive damages. It won’t make them whole again or undo the damage but, I can think of nothing better than legally punishing a parent who skipped out on their children.
Protect your children, Mamas! You are their lifeline. You are their hope. You are all that stands between them and their narcissistic father.