June 13, 2020 at 10:38 am #63130
Hi everyone, I had a nasty shock today. I few weeks back I wrote on this forum that my ex was going to be flying his girlfriend out to stay with him during LOCKDOWN! (We’re in the UK, she is in America). In the end she didn’t come. But I heard from him today that she is coming on WEDNESDAY and staying for a whole month! During that time he told me he intends to introduce the children to her and in fact wants them over for dinner on Wednesday or Thursday so they can meet her. I totally flipped out. I told him there was no way I was letting him near them for 14 days – we currently have a 14-day quarantine for UK arrivals and they have to self-isolate for 14 days. If she is living with him, he will obviously also have to self-isolate. During quarantine it is forbidden to receive visitors to the home. I have told him that if he tries to see the kids during those 14 days I will call the police and report him to the authorities for breach of quarantine. I’m afraid to say that I let myself get really upset and threw a few choice insults at him as well. But even after the 14 days, I feel REALLY upset that he thinks this is a good time to introduce the kids to his new girlfriend. I mean, their whole lives are destabilised. How is this a good time to do that? Anyway, I am feeling really shaken and upset and basically just venting here. We had a clear agreement that he and i would discuss a timeline when it was appropriate for the kids to meet his new woman. This basically just blows that out of the water. He told me when he wanted them to see her. I sent the email to a friend who said it looked very bullying. Anyway, this message is a bit scattered because I am so UPSET!!!
June 13, 2020 at 10:39 am #63131
I have told him that I won’t let him in if he comes to collect the children in the week when she is here. He is dropping the children back home with me in a couple of hours and I have taken all the house keys (including the spare key outside) and hidden them as I don’t want him stealing a key when he is here later. I don’t want him being able to get into the house. This is so horrible. Thanks for listening.
June 14, 2020 at 9:59 pm #63147
Hi freeatlast – that is very upsetting especially when you thought that she wasn’t coming, and now he has sprung it on you that she will be arriving so soon. True to character, he was being deliberately evasive so that you would be caught off guard. From your posts, I gather that she will be here for 1 month ( but please correct me if I misunderstood about the length of her stay ). The 14 day plan is good and you have the authorities to back you up. Maybe hire a private detective to be sure that they are staying quarantined for that whole time, because if they do go out, they will have to be quarantined for another 2 weeks, and then she will be leaving. If they do stay quarantined, it does not sound as though your ex will respect your wishes. You can try to reason with him, but if he remains closed, it seems that he would have the legal right to introduce them. That is the time that your spiritual essence will need to come to the fore and to have faith that your children will be OK through the ordeal. Children are very perceptive and they will be able to know who she is under any facade and will know that you are there to support them in every way. Maybe other participants can give advise about how to avoid their meeting her completely, but if your ex and the girl stay quarantined for 2 weeks, and then your ex demands to have the children over for dinner etc., I don’t see a way to block it. Maybe contact a solicitor who might know of a loophole. I’m keeping light surrounding you.
June 15, 2020 at 9:15 am #63164
Thanks, Polestar – I’m in real grief at the moment – crying, the lot. My children are my inner sanctum and along she comes to desecrate that. She stole my husband and now she gets to have my kids for weekends too. I am in massive pain. I keep trying to remind myself what a [fill in the blank] he is and how I am free at last (!) to move ahead with the life of my choosing, that the children are with their Dad who they love, and it will be OK. Right now though, the pain is unbearable. Raw grief and pain.
June 15, 2020 at 4:18 pm #63167
Hi freeatlast – I am so sorry that you are going through this pain. What helps me when I am going through suffering is to try to get into my left brain ( reason ). Some people say to really feel the grief and get through it that way. They think that if you don’t it will be suppressed. You can choose how you want to proceed or if there is a certain limit to the suffering you want to feel, and decide when there has been enough releasing. In any case, I thought I would assist you ( to the best of my ability ) to reason through the situation. Anyway, for myself, this is how I would think it through. First of all ( from what you said ) you know that your children will be safe, so you can put that issue aside in this process. So what you are facing is psychological abuse. It is important to recognize what it is, so your emotions can be lifted. You know the category, but to see it clearly you need to name it and it is Triangulation. Your ex has probably been using this on you for a long time now, and then escalated it with the girlfriend. It’s not just about him and her at all, it is about him and her with your presence being consciously and deliberately left out. They both get narcissist supply from your pain and from feeling like they are the winners. Now, your ex is “ wiping your nose in it “ with bringing the children into the picture, and this brings up painful feelings of humiliation for you. So it is a cruel psychological abuse that you are suffering from. When you are ready, realize that the only way to be free of the position that they have placed you in is to leave it. To do this you must psychologically turn your back on them and continue with the good work of inner no contact that you were making good progress with. I understand that your ex pulled a crisis on you by the suddenness of springing the news on you, and he knew it would be difficult for you to rally, but that is his “ upping the ante “ because he saw how well you were doing. You will get back on your feet again and will put the abuse behind you, because that is his problem, and not yours. Remember, abusers need a victim for their abuse habit. So get your self esteem back by refusing to be what they want you to be. Lastly, your relationship with your children is a sacred place where no one can possibly intrude. Know that they need you to hold that special place for them because that is their true home. No matter what they do socially, their hearts are with you because you created a warm loving sanctum for you and for them, that they just cannot have anywhere else. Please post as often as you would like – we are all here for you.
June 16, 2020 at 7:01 am #63173
Hi polestar – you are an angel. This was such a kind and loving post. And spectacularly helpful. I hadn’t been seeing it as abuse, just about me failing to cope with the next stage of the kids meeting his girlfriend. But it is abusive, you’re right. Here is the full story.
I knew that he wanted the kids to meet his new girlfriend. When he left me he told me he would respect my wishes around when that happened, and he wouldn’t do it before I was ready. I had a feeling she would be flying out again soon so I initiated a meeting between he and I so that we could discuss it. That was meant to be Friday. In the end I had to pull out of the meeting because I have chronic fatigue syndrome and wasn’t physically well enough to go (typical for partners of narcs, I know, to have CFS!). (We couldn’t do it on the phone because we both have terrible phone signal because of living in the countryside and our calls are constantly getting cut off.)
In the meantime, unbeknownst to me, she was booking her flights. So on Friday, we were meant to meet, and couldn’t, and it was on Saturday – the very next day – when he wrote and told me she was coming and had booked her flights and he wanted the kids to meet her.
So I have been furious with him and of course no doubt he was pleased at how upset I was with him. I should have done the “grey rock” thing but I failed on that one. I was the “exploding volcanic rock” instead! His reaction when I said he had gone back on his word to include me in the discussion of when she was meeting my kids? That X months had passed and therefore he assumed it was no longer an issue. And that was despite the fact that only the day before we were meant to be meeting – at my instigation – to discuss this issue. So that was a total lie, wasn’t it? He just acts to suit himself. And they are in the love-bombing stage so it’s sickening to be dragged in as a witness to that dynamic. She arrives, he jumps, our agreement to discuss is tossed aside.
I have been in deep grief the last few days, once the raw anger dispersed. I have not been able to hold back the tears and the kids of course have witnessed me crying. Last night he came round to tell the kids about meeting the girlfriend. After that they put 2 and 2 together about why I had been crying so much and gave me lots of lovely hugs and cuddles. Now while that was very nice for me, it isn’t ideal from the perspective of me trying to remain neutral, for their sake.
I have been on such an emotional rollercoaster in the last few days. I am beginning to feel a little better, and your post has really helped me because now I can see how manipulative and abusive this was. And there’s something else – my birthday is on Friday. I bet it’s not a coincidence that he threw something that upsetting in my direction right in time to bring a black cloud over my birthday.
So your post helps me to see that what I need to do is put the whole sorry mess behind me and go back to living my life, calmly, and shut him/them out of my mind. It is hard, but you’re right that this is the only sensible thing to do.
Thanks so much for being there.
June 16, 2020 at 9:10 am #63174Donna AndersenKeymaster
freeatlast – do you have an official court custody agreement with your ex? I don’t remember seeing you mention one. If you do not, you are not obligated to do anything. Simply refuse to let the kids go.
June 16, 2020 at 9:21 am #63175
No, Donna, I don’t. I wouldn’t have it in me to fight them going. He has talked to them and they are OK with it so it would just turn me into the “bad guy.” If they are safe and happy there, what basis do I have for refusing to let them go? Then it becomes about my own needs… On the other hand, I am dead set against them going to America with him/them, should that ever come up. I would at that point put my foot down and refuse to let them go.
June 16, 2020 at 10:42 pm #63182
Hi freeatlast – you really have more insight than you realize – and I mean you personally ( not just you in the general sense ). But that issue of having your ex pull what he did on you would have set anyone back. Here’s a little constructive criticism – I know what I am talking about because I have made the same mistake myself many many times. What it is, is that we forget who we are dealing with – a sociopath – and engage with them as we would with a normal considerate person who we can expect a fair exchange with. That just gets us way entangled in their manipulations and unkindness. So when you thought that he would be fair in discussing plans regarding the children, you were forgetting who and what he is. I don’t mean to be critical, but to assist you in seeing that, so you can dodge the bullet next time. From your post you did say that you realized that basically and that is great. You mentioned “ grey rock “ too so you know what I am talking about. I read in a different post about your description of your ex as being a seemingly nice guy from the world’s point of view, so that makes it so much harder. I know because my ex had that demeanor. And thus I know how hard it is to forget who they really are especially when they can act so OK in the beginning of an exchange – like you ex acting like he would respect your wishes, but of course not coming through. So my advise is that you keep the idea of No Contact foremost in your mind when away from him or when communicating with him. That would entail never to meet to talk anything over with him, and not to have talks with him on the phone ( even though you can’t anyway ) and never to have a talk with him when he comes over due to the children. Only communicate facts via email, like specific plans of pick up and drop of times – and that’s it. So because of his going back on his word, which he denied but that he did, now you will definitely need to go full No Contact ( to the absolute maximum you are able in regards to the children ). I know that you have already made great progress and can get right back where you left off. I wanted to ad something from my last post about your kids meeting his whatever, and that is for you to realize that she is simply a stranger to them. That is only what she is to them. The last thing I wanted to say was that I started to watch the Handmaid’s Tale series. Wow – it is powerful and at the same time very freeing. It made me happy that she was able to talk to a few others who were not totally brainwashed and her determination that she would not allow that to happen to her. I feel that we here at Love Fraud are doing just that. Keep up your great work.
June 16, 2020 at 10:52 pm #63183
freeatlast – I wish you a very Happy Birthday and that my gift to you is to assure you that a whole new world of joy will open up for you and you will truly know that you are free at last !
Many many blessings to you !
June 17, 2020 at 8:24 am #63184
Polestar – you are very generous with your time in commenting so extensively on my posts. Your comments have helped me enormously. You’re right – I had “forgotten” how cold and callous emotionally he could be, and that he doesn’t give a you-know-what about me. it was super-helpful to read that to my children, she is just a stranger. I will have to remember that when they go over there. They want to be there with their Dad, and she means nothing to them. I just hope it stays that way.
I think she might be a narc herself actually. There are definite red flags. One is that, she comes from NC and didn’t like her accent (not sophisticated enough for her), so took acting classes to learn how to do accents, and now ONLY speaks in a sexy Californian accent. I mean, who learns a new accent and then never uses their own accent ever again? And she is OBSESSED with her appearance – hair and make-up and showing off as much of her body as she can. And needing to be the centre of attention. And continuing to lie and deceive me over some fairly big issues even once the affair was found out. And neglecting her kids and their needs so she can focus on her career (and she left her family once the affair was found out). Even now, she is coming to the UK for a full month. Her kids (who now live with their Dad) are 11 and 14. She won’t be seeing them for a whole month!
So I hope they both really screw each other up – interesting to see what happens when narc gets together with narc!
I’ve just realised in writing the list of her attributes above that she is basically the complete polar OPPOSITE of me in every way. Odd that. Shows my ex is just a chameleon, doesn’t it? She is 16 years younger than him too, so I hope she gets fed up with the age difference!
Sorry, that turned into a bit of a rant about her. I’m sure you understand. Thank you again for all your insightful comments, you are keeping me going, you really are!
June 17, 2020 at 9:52 am #63185
I meant to also add, I’m glad you’re getting something valuable out of the handmaid’s Tale. It is gripping and i simply love her voice-over commentary! very healing for her, as it is for me, to reflect on my past.
June 17, 2020 at 7:15 pm #63188
Donna – you’re right. I’ve had an epiphany. I don’t have to let them go over there and I’m not going to. She arrived today and they are in self-quarantine for 2 weeks. The plan is that he will collect them 2 weeks on Friday for a sleepover. On the Tuesday I will tell the children that they can’t go over there and on the Wednesday morning I will email him and tell him. I am going to spring it on him at short notice, as he did to me. I will tell the children in as simple a way as I can that I am not ready emotionally for this, given the background to Emily’s arrival in their Dad’s life, and that I wasn’t consulted and am not ready. I will reassure them that they can still see their Dad. I will tell my ex that he can come here and visit on the weekend for the day but that he cannot leave the premises with the children. He will be absolutely furious and I can deal with that. I wasn’t consulted, I was dragged into a situation that every fibre of my being is screaming in agony about. And I’m going to LISTEN to my gut instead of telling myself I have to go along with it. That is the thing about BOUNDARIES that I need to learn. So, if anyone has advice on how to handle what I tell the kids, then please chip in. I want to tell them enough that they understand, without over-dramatising, and being reassuring that they can still see their Dad. They are 12 and 14. This is a major boundary issue for me – he pisses on my boundaries and I let him – and this is a chance for me to stand and say no, I’m not going to go along with this. I wrote to a friend today and said it’s like my skin is being peeled from me, it’s that excruciating – and if it’s that excruciating, why the **** am I letting it happen without a bloody good fight??
June 18, 2020 at 10:40 am #63190Donna AndersenKeymaster
freeatlast – Please always remember that sociopaths are damaging to children, just as they are damaging to their partners, like you have been damaged. Therefore, your overall objective is to minimize the time that your children spend with him.
Many experts say that children need their fathers. When the father is a sociopath, that is not true.
I don’t know if I would do a lot of explaining. Remember, any time you give a sociopath a reason, he considers it a point of negotiation. So the fewer reasons, the better.
Definitely wait until the last minute to tell him. It will give you 2 weeks of peace.
June 18, 2020 at 3:45 pm #63191
Thank you, Donna. I am in real turmoil at the moment. This is a mini version of so much of our conflict. He does something that I perceive to be really unreasonable, then I react angrily (and I was really angry with him) and then he responds all reasonably and makes me feel ashamed of myself of being so angry at him. I’m left feeling like the bad guy. yet objectively, he is the unreasonable one, right? He sprung his girlfriend’s visit on me at very short notice, and completely threw out the window my desire to discuss when to introduce the kids to her. But I’m the one left feeling like the guilty party. Am I over-reacting? Could I be the one causing the problems?? I just don’t know what to think. Is he gaslighting me with his version of reality? I do know that I behave much worse with him than anyone else. I wouldn’t speak to anyone else like that. I’ve never spoken to anyone else like that, ever. It would be unthinkable. So I don’t think it’s me. Confused.
June 19, 2020 at 12:07 am #63204
Hi freeatlast – I think that you are accurate in the assessment of the situation; regarding your ex, regarding your decision about not allowing the children to be with her and him, and about her character. You definitely would not want your children subjected to that influence. Another way to look at his and her relationship is that it is not based on reality. They have had no real time to know what it means to have to deal with the realities of a real relationship in all the ways that come with day to day living. They live across the ocean, so it is easy to go into a fantasy. So your ex is trying to get you to believe in their fairy tale so to make it more real than it is. And what it is – is actually a nightmare, which they will at some point start to feel the pain from. I will give a shot for what you might want to say to your children, something like : “ I have decided that it would not be a healthy situation for you emotionally to have to spend time with your dad when he is in the company of his new friend. There is no way to tell if they will continue to like each other, or if she may suddenly change or move or what. She has left her own children many times and is planning on leaving them now again for a month. Her children must be feeling very sad about that, and I don’t want either of you to feel sad due to her erratic behavior. If your dad has decided that he wants to date her, that is between him and her and really has nothing to do with our family. “ Maybe something like that ? You may need to word it in such a way that they would relate to and understand the best. About questioning your reaction to your ex’s abuse – I believe that sociopath’s are very good at manipulating the emotions of someone that they have pulled into their sphere. What they do is keep provoking and provoking by many different methods and will keep on until the “ victim “ finally reacts. Their methods include being passive aggressive, putting the other on the defensive by telling lies about them or to them, breaking agreements, shifting the blame to the other for what was their own fault – the list goes on and on. That is what they do and they will keep pushing because they live off other’s hurt and upset. They like to get the energy, they like to get a reaction so that they feel they have power over the other person, and they like to make the other feel guilty or ashamed if they finally “ loose it “ by becoming upset in whatever way – hurt, angry, depressed or any combination of negative emotions. In my own case, even when I eventually was able to not react, my ex would still act like he had “ won “ because in his eyes, if he did something that was humiliating to me, he believed and acted like it was a shame for me. That’s how arrogant they are. The only way to possibly have any dignity and to regain your equilibrium is to go No Contact. So when it is time for you to inform him of your decision about her, just email the basic facts – as you have described what you are going to do. But after that, be sure not to get into a debate about it. I know that it is very difficult to go No Contact while still having to deal on even a minimum level with an abuser. Maybe a way to do it would be to imagine that you are a lawyer when emailing him or when necessary to reply to an email regarding the children. Remember that he wants you to feel guilty and wrong, especially when you are acting strong with boundaries in place. Whenever you slip into self doubt, read a part of one of your books about psychological abuse or watch a You Tube about it and you will understand that making a person feel self doubt is something that abuser’s crave. Your ex sounds like he is very good at twisting things around and manipulating, and has much in his arsenal that he is more than willing to use to mess you up. So read your books and go No Contact ( as much as you can considering your children ), and you will start to feel much better.
June 20, 2020 at 10:48 pm #63215
Hi freeatlast – as you haven’t responded to my last post, I am assuming that you are not wanting to communicate further about your ex and the issue regarding your children. Perhaps you feel assured and confident in your decision and also about the knowledge of what to say to your own children who you are so close to. If that is the case, that is good because you are an insightful and strong person who I respect very much. You have books and access to important information that will help you step by step as they did and do for me. I, personally did not know that there were forums to help support me when I was going through deep confusion and despair, and then I found some books to help me. I did so much with books alone. After I had gone a long way in my healing, I received an inner direction to assist others and that’s when I searched and found Love Fraud. So I love the opportunity to support others, and to enjoy the goodwill and fellowship that I have found here. Yet truly, I totally get and support survivor’s decisions with regards to posting or not on any issue of their choosing. So no need to respond to this post, but if anything comes up that you want to post about, we are here for you !
June 20, 2020 at 10:57 pm #63216
PS – It just occurred to me that you were intending on responding but needed more time to think about the issue. Normally I wouldn’t jump to conclusions, but it was just that you responded to some of my other posts. Either way, it’s all good !
June 21, 2020 at 2:06 am #63217
Hi polestar – thank you so much for “checking in” – the story is that I’m just undecided and trying to “sit with it.” A friend came over yesterday to see me with a little birthday present and I sat and chatted to her about the situation. She feels exactly the same as I do – that it would be horrible for the children to go over there. She said she would talk to the children and tell them it would be too upsetting for her if they went over. Maybe compromise by letting them go over for one meal – lunch or dinner. But definitely not staying the night.
What I’m grappling with is:
1. I don’t want to be one of those people that put the children in the middle and basically use emotional blackmail and mess them up.
2. It will get very nasty. My husband is a bully (underneath the nice guy super-pleasant mask). I’m not worried about him being violent but he does what he wants to do and what can i really do to stop him if he just comes here anyway to collect them? How much do I create a scene about it in front of the children?
I feel very strongly that I am being bullied, that this situation is a case that he broke an agreement to discuss this with me ahead of time and I am being forced into doing something I don’t want to do and am not emotionally ready for.
I am also concerned that, because he will obviously move his life over to America when the children are older, I’m concerned that he will build up a life for them with him and her – introduce them to her boys, start doing trips over there etc. I’ve concerned that this is the thin end of the wedge.
I don’t want them exposed to her at all. There isn’t an actual need. She doesn’t live in the UK, she is just visiting. The children don’t have a need to see her. On the other hand, I can’t put off this meeting for ever. I can exert a huge amount of energy trying to stop them seeing her on this visit. But she will come out again soon. Before lockdown she was coming out every couple of months for 3 weeks. I’m sure that will all start up again. How long can I reasonably hold out and keep them away from her? So this is a factor too. Why put myself through hell now in trying to stand firm when I will only have to give in next time around?
I am still in a total quandary. I have about 10 days to sort out what I am going to do.
I am wondering about just saying he can have 1 meal with them over there with her, and otherwise he has to visit them here until she has gone. And not think about what comes next.
When I discovered the affair i went to a lawyer. He said that as there is no history of abuse with him and the children the courts would grant him access rights and so on, so there is no point trying to fight this legally.
It’s just a very miserable situation for me. So, still pondering…
June 22, 2020 at 3:19 pm #63219
Hi freeatlast – I completely understand the quandary you are faced with. Luckily you have some time to grapple with the situation and it is not an easy one to come to a resolution about. Thank you for your kind reply. I will be sending you light and love and give you the space that you need. However, if you would like some feedback, don’t hesitate to post and I will be happy to share my perspective, for what it’s worth – as there is not only one “ right “ way to understand something and as you are experiencing, sometimes there are many facets to one issue.
Blessings to you
June 22, 2020 at 4:55 pm #63222
Hi polestar, yes, I would like some feedback. Here’s where I’m currently at. Firstly, I just feel murderous rage towards the pair of them. She came into my life and did immense damage and I don’t want her anywhere near my children. So I am struggling just with the amount of bitter anger I’m dealing with. Then I’m trying to think of what I’m going to say and do. here’s where I’m currently at:
I think I should sit the children down next week and say to them that I’ve had time to think about this, and I’m not OK with them having an overnight stay with Dad and his girlfriend, that I would feel far more comfortable if they met for a short time only such as one dinner over there. I also want to tell them that I am dealing with heartbreak over this – they saw me crying buckets the day their Dad came over to tell them about her being here and wanting to meet them. They know this is hard for me so I feel I can be honest and say how hard it is for me, especially as Dad left me for her.
I’m aware this may be perceived as emotional blackmail but the thing is, I don’t think it’s right that they see me crying extensively and then don’t hear another word from me about it. I feel like it’s just being open and honest about my pain because they’ve witnessed it.
And then write to me ex and tell him that I don’t feel comfortable about them having an overnight stay with her and that they can have them over for a dinner, but not to stay. In the meantime, he can visit them here on his usual weekend days and maybe the kids can go over there to dinner one night in the week.
Much as I would love to have the kids never meet her, it isn’t reasonable to think i can accomplish that. This is at least gives me some say.
What do you think?
I am in emotional agony over this.
Thanks for your help.
June 23, 2020 at 2:43 pm #63225rosethorn3Participant
Freeatlast, Donna made a very sound point about the children. Children learn from example and being around a sociopath is never good for a child. Also, would like to warn you to be vigilant about when and where the children are with him. How serious is he about this new gf? Serious enough to pick up and move to America? If so be very vigilant about his visits with them. At 12 and 14 years of age, they probably know a lot more than you give them credit for. Sit them down and have a heart to heart with them about the situation. It will give you peace of mind and let them feel like you trust them enough to relay such information. Hopefully they would tell you if their father mentioned them taking a trip to America with him and you don’t know about it. If you have read about or seen on tv about the agony caused when one parent steals the children or child from the other, you know how important it is to be one step ahead.
Wish you all the best…
June 23, 2020 at 4:38 pm #63226
Hello rosethorn3, thank you for your input. He is generally really good with the children because he is invested in his nice guy image. The main area it comes out is little signs of neglect that they probably don’t (yet) notice eg being late to pick them up, dropping them off without a hug goodbye, and leaving early when he babysits here (on one occasion leaving them alone at night, sleeping, instead of waiting till I got back home). Generally he treats them well, though, so I’m not too concerned about that aspect. But I am hyper-vigilant about the America angle. The situation is that they cannot enter the US without their US passports – they were born there so must enter and leave the US on US passports. And I have their passports in a hidden, safe place. Best yet, they have expired. And he would need my co-operation to renew them, which he won’t get. (It entails an in-person trip to the US embassy in London with both parents present). I have no intention of letting them take a trip to the US with him, and I’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
Do you think it’s OK to talk to the children about my concerns?
June 23, 2020 at 11:15 pm #63230
Hi freeatlast – here’s my opinion about your situation – I hope that it doesn’t make you feel criticized because my intention is to give you direction and support and I understand how difficult it is to sort everything out. I agree that it is reasonable and correct for you to allow your children to have dinner with them but not a sleep over. It is so reasonable that you don’t have to explain anything further to your ex nor to your children ( just something like “ this is what I feel is right under the conditions “ or “ this is the parameter that I feel comfortable with “ ). I don’t agree about a heart to heart with your children. They already saw your anguish and understand the situation very well. The ages of your children are such that they can already get it. What is most important is for you to get your own emotions together and to get centered. They can feel what you are feeling and they need you as their mother who they can rely upon. At their ages, they need to be concerned about all the hormonal changes they are going through and their own relationships ( that can be challenging at those ages ) and now the corona virus restrictions. That is a lot of stress that they already have to deal with, and they do not need to have to deal with any emotional issues that relate between you and their father. I think they should be protected from feeling that they are in the middle between both of you. They have loyalty to both of you and that needs to be respected. I know I mentioned previously about an idea to tell them about her ( kind of using her as an excuse for your kids not to see your ex and her ) but thinking more about it, I’ve come to realize that would not have been right for the reasons that I explained in this post. In the final analysis, it is your own responsibility to deal with the anger you feel. Granted, it is very understandable, but nevertheless, it is still your own problem to resolve. Les Carter is a therapist whose specialty is anger management and he is amazingly compassionate – he has books and free info on his site that will be very helpful to you. When dealing with your ex, I have expressed my opinion previously about going No Contact to the greatest extent possible. That will keep your sense of dignity from being harmed. Try to keep worries about the future and different continents away and “ on the back burner “ – you have enough on your plate in the present situation to deal with. And it is impossible to deal with anything in the best possible manner when you are feeling overwhelmed emotionally. So go forward with the good decision that you made regarding dinner and not the sleep over, and then put your will power and effort into focusing on your psychological health. You will feel better and better and that will be so good for your children as well. I do hope that this post was not too harsh. I have tremendous respect for you and what it takes to come to grips with all the entwining issues that you have been facing which can be so overwhelming.
June 24, 2020 at 6:20 am #63231
Hi polestar, thanks for your feedback. I am coming to the same conclusion. Last night I sat outside in the garden and wept and wept. I don’t know why I am finding this so hard but it feels overwhelmingly painful to me. And I just want to move on. I’m going to have to deal with him for many years to come so I need to take care of my own mental and emotional health if I’m going to cope. What helped last night was doing a simple little exercise from Kristin Neff’s book, Self Compassion. I put my hand on my heart and said “This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.” I just repeated it over and over until the pain started easing a bit. That was enough to start shifting from overwhelm – feeling as if I am just drowning in the pain – to a sliver of hope that I will survive this, no matter how painful it is. Thanks for your ongoing support.
June 24, 2020 at 6:21 am #63232
June 25, 2020 at 11:16 am #63235
Hi freeatlast – I’ll post more later tonight, but I just wanted to mention that Les Carter has great You Tubes, that I think you would really like.
June 25, 2020 at 10:43 pm #63236
Hi freeatlast – congratulations… you have gotten through a very traumatic crisis, where your roots were really shaken, and you survived with flying colors ! It is normal after having gone through what you did, to have a great emotional release afterwards. Now, though, you can really start to focus on your healing and get better and better and start to feel your true being in greater ways. What I did, and I have gotten amazing results is to follow the program that Shannon Thomas outlines in her book called, “ Hidden Abuse “. She has steps to recovery, which I have been following. I am now at the step called “ Restoration “ and I am feeling very happy. I did go through every step before and at one time, I was truly at the Despair Stage. It’s not that she advocates despair, it is just that she recognizes that is how survivors feel in the very beginning. I haven’t heard too many comments about her book, but of any books I have, that has been the core one for me because she actually has a plan to follow. Through the process I have made so many note cards of her quotes to help me through. I’d say every word of her book has been of tremendous help to me. Sometimes I’d be in one step, even though my mind or intellect could grasp info from others. Anyway, just thought I’d let you know what has been working for me. Another thing that I like about her book is that you can pin point where you are at, at any time, like looking at a map, and I have found that to give me much clarity. But I know that there are many ways to heal. The important thing is that you are at a place now in which you can really go forward. Oh, another thing about her book that would help you is that she addresses situations like yours when a person cannot go full No Contact, and walks you through the manner of dealing and healing with support so that you are confident and strong in the process and can get on with your life. So congratulations again for all that you have faced with such courage.
June 26, 2020 at 8:38 am #63240
Hi polestar, I will definitely buy that book. It sounds perfect for me. I especially like the idea of the roadmap out of it all. I need to feel like I am making progress. I just spent nearly an hour on the phone with my ex disucssing the children going to his place to meet his girlfriend and have a sleepover. I expressed real concern for having a sleepover almost as soon as meeting her (he wants them round for dinner on Wednesday which is when their quarantine ends, then for a sleepover the weekend after). I have asked him to research the importance of starting slowly when introducing children to your new partner and have stated that I feel he is moving too quickly. I raised concerns about them – such as my son seeking excessive amounts of reassurance over being loved – which he completely blew off and said had nothing to do with us separating. (My son is telling me he loves me over and over, and this anxiety only started after he left. But according to my ex it has nothing whatsoever to do with his departure!)
Anyway, we have left it that he is looking up best ways to introduce a new partner. I have made it clear I’m unhappy with a sleepover. We’ll see where we get. However – I did score a big “win” in that I remained calm and dignified throughout the talk. He was cold, aloof, dismissive, scornful and angry alternately. I stayed calm and dignified, which is an awful lot better than when I originally received his email.
In a way, this is a huge win because he has really derailed me (over 20 years) and provoked me into not being calm and dignified. I have lost dignity through being with him. So to remain dignified in a very difficult and painful talk is a huge statement to both him and to myself. And this I credit to Les Carter, whose Youtube video I watched on how to handle difficult talks with a narcissist. He said very simply that if you stay calm and dignified and true to yourself then that’s a win. The narc will never listen to you so don’t plead or get emotional. Just stay calm and dignified. And I did!
By the way, we talked briefly about his son from his first marriage. He (the son) has just left the wife he married less than 3 years ago, he no longer talks to his Dad (my ex), and my ex said that he follows his twitter feed and can’t believe what an arrogant, cold, scornful, unpleasant person he has become. I had to bite my lip and stop myself saying “I wonder where he got that from!” I feel very sad to hear of his son’s problems. At the time when my ex’s affair came to light, his son wrote to me and told me a number of things, which basically included seeing his dad in exactly the same light that I now see him – he actually called him something like a snake-oil salesman who is surrounded by enablers which prevents him looking at his own stuff. And he advised me to explore how I might have been romantically manipulated and exploited by his Dad….
Anyway I am sorry for his son’s mental health issues. But the reason I go into this story is to underscore what Donna said previously – a child of a sociopath is going to suffer damage. And that is despite my ex trying really hard to be a good Dad. In the end the destructive choices he has made have had an impact on those around him, even those who weren’t directly in the firing line so to speak.
I am feeling a lot better today, even though it is still uncertain how this will turn out. Thank you again, polestar for you support and the book recommendation!
Blessings to you.
June 26, 2020 at 10:22 pm #63255
Hi freeatlast – I am glad that you are feeling better and have been able to detach from your ex’s behavior to the extent that you were able to uphold your calm and dignity. I think the whole issue here is about power at this point. Like having strategies for war. A Cold War. So you need to be like a general and determine how much you are willing to give in and where your bottom line is. Added to this is to know the real parameters of where you actually do have power. And what is right regarding fairness. Knowing that your ex will not play fair. By parameters I mean, what is the legal jurisdiction to what boundaries you can legitimately demand. While knowing that if you push it to hard he could reciprocate by going to court and getting some degree of custody. Perhaps if it came to that, it might be a good thing because things would be spelled out very clearly about who has which rights regarding the children. As far as his influence on the children, yes, the best scenario would be to eliminate him from their lives completely and you have his older son as an example. But the fact is that he has certain legal rights, or can obtain them when he wants to, so your power is limited in that way. Generally it is a good practice to not explain things to a sociopath because they are not interested in negotiating – they are only interested in winning. But as you said, you did score by the fact that he said that he would research about the best ways to introduce children. If he thinks he would loose, to save face he may just do dinner and not a sleepover, but the next time she comes, he will demand for the sleep over. Maybe you will be OK with that by that time, or maybe not. I think it would be wise to talk to a custody solicitor about how a judge would view these issues about boundaries because at some point you will need to face a judge and he will see what actions you have taken, and will base his decisions a lot from your behavior. And your ex’s. I think if you contact a solicitor ASAP, that will give you much power of knowledge to know what are the best decisions for you to take, and that will give you much confidence too.
I feel gratitude that you have shared with me.
June 29, 2020 at 8:02 am #63265
Hi polestar – thank you for your response. You’re right that he does have rights and I can only push it so far. So here’s what happened. He didn’t do any research. He came back to me and said it was basically none of my business, and he had rights and I needed to be less controlling. He said it was up to him how to proceed and he would ask the kids if they were OK with a sleepover. So they are going to dinner with him/them on Wednesday and then probably a sleepover on Fri-Sat. And that is that. I have to let it go and realise, as you say, that I can’t stop it happening and stop trying to kill myself by trying to stop it from happening. I mean, the stress I have been under is ridiculous. Not really surprising that in the end, it just came down to “this is how it’s going to happen” and all input from me was branded as merely “controlling.” Are any of us surpised by that???
June 29, 2020 at 4:35 pm #63271
Hi freeatlast – his behavior is “ typical “, said with “ attitude “ . I agree, you just can’t stress yourself out about it. If it is happening anyway, then ignore the situation and your ex. One of the steps in the book I was telling you about ( “ Healing from Hidden Abuse “ by Shannon Thomas ), is called “ Boundaries “ and she talks about 2 types – “ No Contact “ and “ Detached Contact “. So go full speed ahead with Detached Contact, and as in “ The Handmaid’s Tale “ – “ Don’t let the B’s get you down “. Watch a bunch of Les Carter’s You Tubes. I noticed that he has some on-line seminar video series. There was one about dealing with if your partner has had an affair. Even though it is past history for you, I think that Les would address emotions and attitudes that you might find useful, pertinent and healing. Maybe make that the special item for you to do when your kids are with their dad. I know you’ll get through this with “ flying colors “ ! And post whenever you wish and I will give feedback. Either way, I’m here rooting for you !
June 29, 2020 at 5:14 pm #63272
Thank you, polestar, you’re an angel! Yes, I will watch some of Les carter’s youtubes. That will help a lot. Plus the Shannon Thomas book. And I had forgotten that great quote from The Handmaid’s Tale – yes, indeed! I will remember that!
Actually, tonight at dinner time I told the kids the plan for Wednesday (dinner with them) and then possibly the sleepover Fri-Sat. My son (12) was fine with it but my daughter (14) looked visibly upset. I talked to her afterwards and said she looked a bit upset about the plan and the first thing out of her mouth was “but Dad will want me to do it” which tells you everything you need to know about how she feels… So – should I write to him and say how our daughter is feeling? I have stressed to her that it is important that she chooses and that the adults will be OK whatever she decides, and that it’s important that she decides this for herself. So we’ll wait and see.
Thanks for your AMAZING support!!!
June 30, 2020 at 3:14 am #63274
PS I would add, actually, that my son was not totally fine with it. When I asked him how he felt about it, his eyes filled with tears and then he said he was fine with it. Which is not the same as being actually fine with it.
June 30, 2020 at 6:17 am #63275
You will simply not believe this! So, my ex’s self-isolation is due to end tomorrow. The kids were scheduled to go round to his place for dinner to meet his girlfriend tomorrow. And I got a call this morning from the hospital where I’m due to have an operation – they have scheduled it for July 15th and the kids and I need to strictly self-isolate for 2 weeks starting tomorrow!!!! OMG I literally cannot believe this! We are not even allowed to leave the house for exercise or food. I feel this is an absolute Godsend!!!!
- This reply was modified 6 days, 9 hours ago by freeatlast.
June 30, 2020 at 1:46 pm #63277emilie18Participant
What amazing news – sometimes the universe IS on our side! (grin) Be prepared for the inevitable bullying tactics, though – he may even say he will keep them the entire 2 weeks (don’t let him). If your doctor will send you the orders in writing, all the better…and you might get child services involved if he persists. Good luck – and best wishes for a successful surgery and recovery!
June 30, 2020 at 1:57 pm #63279
Hi emilie18, yes, he was upset this morning but has now accepted things. I’ve said he can video-call the kids and that’s basically that. All sorted. Thank you, angels!!! (grin!)
June 30, 2020 at 9:42 pm #63281
Hi freeatlast – Oh the goodness that is all pervasive ! And that goodness loves and cares for you personally ! If you ever needed validation that you are in tune with the harmony of the universe and with our loving Earth, you definitely have received it. I am filled with joy for you !
July 1, 2020 at 5:08 am #63282
Thanks, polestar. Thanks everyone for their amazing support. I can breathe easier now. Sigh.
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