The narcissist will stop at nothing in their manipulative ways, even using their own children. Here are some examples of how the ex has used our children and the ways I’ve counteracted it.
What the narcissist uses as the golden child, he was born a sensitive soul, picks up on people’s emotions with ease, eager to please, what I’d noticed over the years, is he wasn’t as smiley as they other children, children are all individuals and unique to themselves, one thing my chocolate had in common was a big beaming smile. It was easy to snap a photo of a happy face. You could never get a true smiley photo from the golden child, sensitive child, his eyes always looked sad, he always looked like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Spending several years reaching narcissism, and thinking yes they so are, to a little self-doubt, then yes they so are. It took one major life event for me to truly get it, then actually distance myself and observe the true actions of the ex.
We’d spent two years to what I believed was co-parenting, it wasn’t it was the narcissist trying to get a roof over their head as they didn’t want to live with mummy and daddy no more. Why they lived there was because I’d ended the relationship over drug use a few years earlier, within a week they’d moved in with someone new, within six months they were back with all the excuse of why it was all my fault. How they wanted to try again, but I was wiser and stronger than before, parenting yes, the relationship no.
While spending eighteen months of the ex wanting to move back in, get married and purchase my home for our family, they’ed managed to get my replacement pregnant. How did they want to solve this, yes they still wanted me to have another baby, as it was all my fault they’d got an unwanted child, as I wouldn’t get back together with them.
So what clicked was the day our five-year-old just burst into tears out of nowhere and told me he wanted to die. First thing I did, called his other parent for support, to be told: “ you’re crazy, you’ve caused this, you’re ruining the boys’ life.” To which I hung up.
Still trying to co-parent I messaged to information we need to get our son some help. What did I get “I’ll evaluations him when I next see him.”
I then got a message to say “ if you carry on with these games, you’re further damaging my child, he doesn’t need outside help. If you continue, I’ll call social services.”
So I thought long and hard about our son, his sensitivity is his nature, his anxiety, unwillingness to get dressed, wanting to sleep in, not wanting to leave the house, the weight of the world on his shoulders and so many more. Most importantly, his lack of smile reminded me of someone, my exes eldest child. Then I remembered everything I’d read, I thought about what the ex was like with there eldest child. I started to look into the children’s side effects. I opened my eyes. For the first time I realised, his anxiety and depression at five were due to his nurture, If he wasn’t visiting his parent, he was FaceTiming his parent, so our son. Never got space or time to think clearly without the narcissists’ influence.
That’s when I got on the phone, health visitor, Doctors, child phycologist. He was five I had time to take action, children’s core values are usually set by the age of seven, although with hard work they can be changed after seven.
Due to my beliefs, I still gave the ex another chance. To get threatened in front of our boys. “ if you carry on with these silly games, I’ll make you disappear.” Getting my son help how silly of me, I think not. I responded, with a restraining order, limited contact for the boys, everything to do with boys via message. No responses from me to the ex.
Within weeks the school, friends and family noticed, the shy, quite reserved boy, turn into a confident, happy, smiling child, he was even putting shoes on to leave the house and excited to go out, something he’d never done before, he’s still sensitive, that’s the nature of his soul.
So here are some of the manipulations the narcissist has tried since, how I’ve managed to counteract and teach valuable life lessons, one thing I will add is I know some have bigger safeguarding, so the children can not see the parent. I am on constant watch, and if the situation starts to worsen, if my child stops improving and starts going backwards, I will re-evaluate the situation.
I spoke with the ex about, boys needing stability and routine and set days. Yes, I explained my point of view once and once only to the ex in simple boring ways via message, to try and find a compromise. I asked what days/times suited, Ex told me, it suited the boys and me, so I said yes I agreed. Within two weeks of the days arranged. The ex said it was no longer suitable. So the boys have been dropped last minute in the past, or me swapping for them to be a no show anyway. I stuck firmly. It’s only one day a week. I told them. “ No, that is your day, you chose it. If you want to see them pick them up, if you don’t, don’t.” No more, no less, they’d had plenty of chances before. Well, of course, barrage of abuse.
“You’re damaging the children, by keeping us apart for your weird games.”
“You’re jealous and using the children.”
“I’m calling mediation.”
I did not respond. Only in my mind, did I respond. I’d got messages from a few weeks earlier, a day given that the narc asked for. If they wanted to see the kids, they were there on the day set, not my problem if they don’t show.
Messaging at 4:30 to show a pic, saying only just having lunch. so I said. “Bet they ate it all they had breakfast at 7.00.” To get.
“I’m not regimented like you.”
I didn’t give a response to them. In my head, it was a case of, basic human needs, feed children at reasonable times. Funny when they dropped them home, they remarked the kids must be coming down with something as they were grumpy till the end of the day. I didn’t respond just thought, yes humans are grumpy when hungry.
Slowly bringing them home later and later on the one school night they have them. For now, it’s not affecting boys, so not responding, if I need to, they’ll simply not see them on a school night.
The hair cut one, now I know this grates a lot and that’s fine, it’s your child, and your child’s hair, do not let the narcissist know it’s bothered you that’s why they do it. It is not something that really bothers me, and it’s hair it grows back. If it bothers you-you’re not alone, just remember it grows back. What did bother me is what our son said. He came home happily with a fresh new hair cut, I said. “Wow, you look cool.” This is nice for the child to hear. We got on with our evening. At bedtime, our son said. “ do you like my hair? ‘Parent’ said you wouldn’t like it.” I respond with, “actually yes I do like it, ( not my choice of hair cut but it looked ok) but even if I didn’t that wouldn’t matter, it doesn’t matter who does or doesn’t like it. All that counts is you like it. It’s your hair on your head, so you can listen to others opinions, respect others opinions are theirs for them, but as it’s your hair, the only opinion that matters is your own.” Then came. “ ‘parent’ said you’d be mad ‘ new partner’ cut it.”
I did fall very lucky with this as I used to be a hairdresser. So I rolled with. “ I used to be a hairdresser, the reason I’m no longer is I didn’t enjoy it, so I found a job I did enjoy for me. If they want to cut your hair, and they don’t mind. That’s helped me out. They are doing me and you favour, just remember, take on board others opinions and views and beliefs, but if you don’t agree, like or want to do something that doesn’t match yours, then don’t. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. “
Our son then went onto YouTube to search how you can tell someone is lying. I told him, go with what your inner instinct tells you, the sooner they learn this, the better. Also as he knows if he lies, he’s in trouble, if he tells the truth, no matter what’s happened, he’s not in trouble, we just work out how to solve the issues and look into ways of not repeating, I did this with all my children anyway.
Let’s face it most children lie, that fear of been caught or getting into trouble. You walk into the kitchen to find the milk everywhere and one plastic cup, there’s only you and one other person in the house, you know it wasn’t you, looks like the child was going to get a drink, yes we all have those parenting moments when we’ve just cleaned up and really can not be bothered, or you’re on a rush to leave, it’s ok if you lack patience sometimes parents do, just explain why you were annoyed once you’ve calmed down.
More often than not, you may call for your child to come to the kitchen. They have a natural fear of being in trouble, so if you ask them straight, they’ll say it wasn’t them. Just explain how you know it was them, and with the truth, no trouble, with a lie, there will be consequences, with the truth, we can work it out and help each other. Children will lie it’s to protect themselves from getting into trouble, a bit like if you go near a hot iron, you’ll pull you are had away, so you don’t get burnt human nature.
Another one, this time because the narcissist doesn’t like the routine, why? Because it’s not about them, they don’t understand or care to understand it’s in the best interest of the children. Our son told me “‘parent’ said it’s all your fault I can not see them.” So I explained, the parent is allowed their opinion on this, as I’m allowed mine, and you are allowed yours, with the routine we all know exactly where we are and when. Obviously, the ex didn’t like that I didn’t message them, so the next week they dropped the children off they said in front of the child. “ I’ve told them I’m free tomorrow if they want to see me.” I only said “ok.” And closed the door. Our son woke the next day asking to go. Well, we had no plans, so I explained as we’d no plans, and parent said they were free if you’d like to it’s ok to mix up the routine, now and again. So I messaged parent to get. “Can not do today I’m bowling.” When I told our son, he was heartbroken saying “‘parent says you never ask,” so I had to sit and read messages with him. He thanked me gave me a big hug and told me it’s ok. This is truly heartbreaking, and at times it’s totally draining with not knowing what stunt they’ll pull to try and hurt you, that actually hurts the children. Seeing your child upset is the worst thing.
The next was. “the parent says it’s all your fault they can not live here if it weren’t for you they would.” Well, that parent has already moved in with a new partner, after ignoring her throughout her pregnancy, once the boys and I found out about baby, I told him I wouldn’t marry or have another child with him ( how he said he could fix the mistake.) I said no he moved In with childs mother ”
No one falls In love faster than a narcissist who needs somewhere to live.
I know what I’d like to say, but then I’m as bad as them. My son can see for himself and make his own mind up when older. He’s already got one parent ramming lies and unnecessary information down him. What he needs is one parent he can turn to and not be judged, be allowed to make his own mind up. So I said. “ if that’s what ‘parent’ thinks, that’s fine. I think different. When two people don’t get on or hurt each other, it’s better they are apart and find people who bring the best out of them, you’re free to look at it in your own way,”
One of the exes tricks was music. “Our son came home saying ‘parent wants us to listen to a song.” I like music so “yes if you’d like to. Our five year old son pops on, All of the lights by Kayne West. I’ll let you google the lyrics, and it describes the other parents’ life. Worse still, our son knew the words. So I said “that’s very clever learning the words so fast,” giving him praise. Then I asked if he liked the song. He said, “No, we’ve listened to it all day.” I explained to my son, about listening to other opinions taking them on board, if you can accept them great, if not they are entitled to like what they like, and you are entitled to what you like, sometimes you. Have to agree to disagree.
The younger child, the scapegoat, did get dropped off early a lot, his big brother comes home calling him names from Mardy bum, to grumpy. I have to explain they are allowed to feel grumpy, but you look out for each other or leave each other alone, you are not mean to each other, I believe because the younger one is stubborn and will not conform, ex is using using the divide and conquer.
So many more I could be here all year.
So phrase, you may hear,
“You’re keeping the children from me.”
“You’re not putting the children first.”
“I’m not dancing to your tune.”
And so many more, please add in comments phrases you’ve had so others can know they are not alone in this.
Stick with what’s best for your children and you, they will only put the children first if it’s of benefit to them, so in reality, they only put themselves first. If it suits you and your children, don’t say no for the sake of it.
Set up a routine. It’s ok to say no if it’s not within your boundaries for your children and yourself.
Don’t listen to the narcissists twisted words.
Do not respond to the narcissist when they pull something, put that time and energy into teaching the children
If possible, teach the children to respect and understand that everyone’s allowed an opinion, but to know and understand within themselves if it feels wrong in any way you don’t have to take it on board.
Do not slate the ex. The child gets enough of this from the ex. They need to know they have one reliable parent.
They may come home all wild, that’s good, tell them it’s ok, and they need to let it all out, being around the narcissist they will have been on best must conform to behaviour. They feel safe and secure with you to let it out.
Keep as much as possible in writing about stuff that’s been said.
Keep communication between you and the narcissist via messenger, or email, so if it ends up in court or mediation you have everything.
Remember it’s a tough enough job being a parent, it’s even tougher when their other parent is a narcissist, you’re doing your best, you are amazing, keep going you will get through, and you’ll have happier children for it.
You are allowed mistakes we all make them. The key is whatever the situation, with your child talk, talk and more talk.
Age-appropriate and with respect to questions they ask or things they say.
There is no wrong or right way, only your way. You know your child best. Find what works for your child and you,
Another key thing to remember is, your children will grow to learn what toxic people are and who they don’t want in their lives, for themselves.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.
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