Co-parenting with someone you don’t like and even better have a restraining order against, can be very difficult. When you do muster up the courage to email the person to discuss the child’s visitation, you know very well that it will not be pleasant. In fact, it is usually emotionally draining, but you try to put yourself in the other parent’s shoes and provide information that you would want if your child was away from you.
You have to be careful though, just when you think the person will be “nice” and appreciate the information or understand the meaning behind the communication- you are usually blind-sided by ugly accusations and rants that have nothing to do with the original email.
How do you handle this type of emotional torture?
I have read many books, blogs and talked to many people and the first response I always receive is shut off communication. Hello! I am legally ordered to communicate with this person, so that option is not one that helps me out. So after many horrible emails from my ex and the emotional roller coaster it takes me on, I have decided that I can only answer direct questions from the other him, questions related only to our children. It’s a lesson you will learn also.
If you try to be the proactive parent and give updates on the child’s week and provide good information you will be drawn into the narcissist black hole. This is when he thinks you are weak and vulnerable and this is exactly the time he will lure you in to thinking he has changed and he cares about the child and you. DO NOT fall for this, it is a trick and always will be.
As I keep learning, a person with Narcissist Personality Disorder will never change and they do not have the capability of ever feeling emotions in a normal way.
My experience has been, when communicating with someone who is a narcissist, what you say will be turned around and used against you. Funny thing about this, my ex actually told a mental health professional “If I am not getting what I want, I will use their words against them until they give me what I want”! So I have it directly from the “horses” mouth!
So keep this in mind and do not give them the ammunition they are seeking. When communicating with the narcissist, wait for them to ask a specific question before saying anything. If there is not a direct question in the communication there is no need for you to respond and be sucked into their feeding frenzy of control. When there is a direct question to be answered, answer as short and to the point as possible.
I like to follow the rule of treating the communication as an email from a professional person. No emotion needs to be attached to the response, just the clear and precise answer. If you can keep it to a simple “Yes” or, “No” that is best. Yes, he will most likely write you back and ask for additional information but unless it is really needed don’t provide it.
There will be threats made when you don’t answer how they want you to. Understand that this is their means of control and if you don’t give it to them they will get angry. When they get angry they will press every button they know to put you on that emotional roller coaster. Unless you like the ups and downs don’t give them the power to control you.
People with narcissistic personality disorder are fragile people and they need to be built up by tearing others down. I am only two years into this new way of fighting. I was used to giving in and just walking on eggshells around my then husband, the last thing I wanted was a three day screaming event (him screaming at me and me taking it like a child). I finally said enough! I was able to obtain a restraining order and was communication free for seven months!
Aside from the panic attacks during court sessions, it was nice not having to deal with him. It never lasts. We do have a child together and eventually he was given a visitation schedule and then we were ordered by the courts to use the email system approved by the court. Wonderful in theory, horrible to use if the person is a narcissist. This gave him access to me – which is exactly what he wanted.
Since we do have a child together, I did know I would eventually have to get to a place where I could communicate with him on a certain level. I have realized that he is exactly the same person, if not worse than before, and as I grow and become stronger, more educated and an independent person it is up to me to release the hold he has on me. The control he demands will only come from me allowing or not allowing it.