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Narcissistic parent of my children

Elf911
Community Member

I'm looking for unbiased opinion on a topic. My ex partner, father of three of my children, we have been separated for 18 months now and he want to reconcile without even sitting at a table to explain how it all ended in the first place. For thirteen years we were together, he took control of every aspect of our lives, right down to the coin to spend on food for our kids, I was totally under his thumb. For a long while it was easier for him to do so with small children to care for but it went beyond control, he made me question my own sanity and safety with him on more than one occasion. Now out of this relationship and try to maintain communication for my children's sake of having a father, I see all the lies and manipulation that I previously had rose coloured glasses on for. Now since I mentioned lawyers for parenting agreements he is sending messages to ask me if we can fix things. In my head I can not see a future where 1. He is not completely transparent and submissive as I was in the past as I'm have gained my independence and am never giving it up again; 2 that will ever agree to give up the things that lead us to break up, eg gambling and search for money; 3 I in my right mind cannot really expect him to change as so, I don't want a puppet to love with strings attached and in so couldn't ask him to be a different person. So how do I get what I need from him; closure and commitment to our children, without that narcissistic personality in the mix. He likes playing games and seeing a person's reaction. Do I be straight and tell him I will never entertain the idea of reconciliation and what dame the results of his reaction as I know it will be negative or play this slow and ask for commitments such as therapy and time before his actions inevitable show his intentions and throw it up as you weren't able to for fill what you were asking as an equal in this relationship therefore it can not happen. Either way my children will suffer as they already are because of his actions. I am stuck in a hard place. 

17 Replies 17

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Elf911~

First I would like to say you have done something really momentous, and that is to break away from this person despite all his attempts at control and now have reached the stage where you can see his actions for what they were - and the effect they had on you

 

I hope you do realise how large a triumph that is and do not place it in jeopardy .

 

From the little I know of such controlling people they will press every button and play every trick to regain control, however will not normally change in themselves - with or wihtout therapy.. A lawyer sounds a good idea if you  can afford it, or can gain free  legal advice. It may not change him or his behaviour except maybe rein in some matters.

 

Many times people here have reported with shared custody or access they have problems reaching agreement on such things as locations, schooling and have to try to undo unflattering or downright untrue accounts.

 

You talked of your children "having a father". This sounds fine however they have already had an example of family life that is distorted, do you think it wise to subject them to more. Your love may be quite sufficient - even in they are the children of both of you.

 

If you do continue separate it does not necessarily mean the end of power plays and tricks, which is why I suggested a legal arrangement.

 

Good luck

 

Croix

 

tranzcrybe
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Reconciliation, as a method, sounds like a good start in the process to talk about your differences and how (if any) the relationship can be reevaluated and structured according to mutually acceptable terms and/or for the sake of the children.
You no longer see things the way they were and are therefore in a stronger position to dictate terms; and 'fixing things' could be possible without the shadow and cost of legal intervention, but you are correct that this will have nothing to do with changing behaviours or wiping the slate clean. Instead, you will be charting a course for the foreseeable future in order to maintain a balanced engagement with the family under some formal agreement you might elect to have notarised.

Elf911
Community Member

I understand that my independence was a triumph and I am not willing to give it up, I may never be. 

There lies my problem, as when I say reconciliation I mean not as a father but as a partner and father. I can not even see a future where he was even capable of treating me as his equal. Even if I were to tell him I could try to talk this out, in my head I am still going to want a parenting agreement signed up with lawyer. I can't make him change but I wish to minimize the damage on our children. I expect that this plea to forgive him is just another means for him to gain control and reconciliation was never the true intention. I am going to constantly questioning his motives. In the last 18 months he has spent 5 days trips with his kids, and rings once a week on the phone. I was open for his visits but all I had asked was 7 days notice and him to pick reasonable days the children were at school. He made little effort to do more. He doesn't even live in the same town. I am lost how to move forward as I'd like nothing more at this point but to shut him out of our lives and move on, but father's have rights. 

Elf911
Community Member

Days children were not at school 

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Elf911~

 

I know you talked about some form of reconciliation wiht partner and father but acknowledged he is not going to change. You would also like him out of you and your children's life.

 

As you say both parents do have rights, however from past performance I'm not sure you are going ot be able to 'talk though ' and get an amicable arrangement. It sounds like quite rightly you have no trust in him and he has not displayed more than a token effort of being in contact wiht the children

 

For you it may be about the best thing for the kids, however that is not necessarily the case for him. He may wish to control by binding agreements, by failing to meet commitments and being uncooperative where mutual decisions are concerned.

 

I do think you need advice to see the traps one can fall into, and trying to get that from a lawyer is not always possible without knowing what to ask - and paying for it. The organizations I mentioned before may be a ble ot give you a realistic view of what you can aim for and how to get it..

 

Croix

.

 

 

Elf911
Community Member

Right from the beginning when he started texting me about fixing our relationship, I have in my mind always answered hell no. But putting that into practice is far more complicated, If I tell him straight up this is never going be a relationship again other then parents for my children, he will come back at me hard, with whatever manipulation he can find. He has already try the jealous card by mentioning another woman possible being in the picture. This doesn't bother me. What worries me is I currently live in a caravan in the back yard of a family members because the housing crisis and low income. I know this is not ideal accommodations but we are healthy, safe and generally well. We don't need any trouble from authorities because a complaint is made, I don't put it past him to make my life difficult in anyway he can. This is what scares me. I am following up with legal advice but there are wait times. He refuses to give an address to be served and says he has no permanent address because he has been traveling. Lawyers will not be able to move forward if he can not be served papers. I want to do what is best for my children, I never knew my bio father and live with scares from that experience, my children while they have issues with their father still love him dearly. While I think it is best to put boundaries in place to limit the damage he could do to them, I know his narcissistic behavior will inevitably still scar them. One of my children is already in therapy. I know there is no easy path here. I guess I'm just trying to come to terms with what I already know I need to do, and find support to give me the strength to continue to stand up for myself and my children. 

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Elf911~

Well, I can now understand all of what you have said before. You are in a horrible position and already he is starting to play games, the homeless ploy to avoid being served is just one of them and the fear that if you go too hard against him he will make a complaint and you might be forced to leave the caravan is something you can't ignore. Do you know the probable result about the effect of such a complaint to the local council (or custody settlement if it came to that)?

 

I'm glad for you that you have a family member who has been willing to help and you are getting legal advice.  I have the feeling you have changed from the person who used to live with him. Stronger and with more insight, and less easy for him to control. 

 

I know you are bound to be preoccupied by this, however please do take the time to look after yourself, even if you can only fit in half an hour a day. Try to do something simply because you like it and it distracts you from everything for a few minutes.

 

Whatever happens you are facing life with bravery, wisdom and a love for you children and the knowledge of this may give you strength in hard times. There are no more rose colored glasses and I doubt very much he can persuade you any more that somthing is your fault.

 

I hope you will keep on coming to us here and letting us know what's happening

 

Croix

Elf911
Community Member

I thank you for your words, it is refreshing that a complete stranger can show kindness.

In regards to the local council they would come out to out properly to look and then a time limit for how long we are able stay in these accommodations would be given. It would give a dead line to when I'd have to find other accommodations. But if he complained to child services for example my parenting abilities is then in question and any reports could be used in court. These things never look good. I hope it doesn't come to that but nothing with him surprises me anymore, I'm just trying to brace myself before the storm hits so that I can come out the other side with less damage. 

I will return to this forum because it's cost free therapy to me at this point. Just having someone that doesn't have their own opinions for me or agenda helps me think through my thoughts. 

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Elf911~

"I will return to this forum because it's cost free therapy to me at this point." - True, you do get our 1¢'s worth for free.😁 

 

"Just having someone that doesn't have their own opinions for me or agenda helps me think through my thoughts. "

 

Look, so many people cannot leave a toxic relationship for any one of umpteen very valid reasons that make it impossible. Others do  break free and that is a wonderful thing - even if it is sometimes only temporary, again for very valid reasons ('I'm not implying anything here or being defeatist). However no matter what the outcome it has to be regarded as a triumph of self, and that can be hard to persuade someone who might see it as a defeat. Pointing that out is my agenda:)

 

You are taking all practical steps to deal with what life has handed you. I have confidence in you and confidence in any decision you make will be the best of the options open to you. You are the person on the spot and in the best place to think out and make your decisions.

 

Things do change.

 

How are the kids taking to caravan life?

 

Croix