I recently decided to start featuring stories from other women who are in this battle. As I said before, One Mom’s Battle has many faces. Part of my healing has come from connecting with these other women and sharing stories, giggles and tears. I have found a tremendous support system through this blog and it has helped me to realize that I am not alone. I call them the “Warrior Moms” and while I know there are also many men affected by Narcissists and Psychopaths, the vast majority of my interaction is with other brave moms.
Here is Face #1 of Many:
I am five years, 8 months, 3 days, 12 hours out of my relationship with a narcissistic person. Who’s counting? I am.
Every day is a great day because I no longer have to live in a relationship that served as a cage, a cage he created for me and for how I would exist in his world. It has been a lot on my shoulders dealing with him in a co-parenting situation with our daughter who is now six years old. No matter how many bad days or moments I have, I know I will not be faced with a situation that was as difficult as being in the relationship with him, that I survived the worst and I grew strong from it. I also know that no matter what he hits me with, that it’s not going to break me. If I fall, I will get back up again.
My story of how it all began is very similar to what most women indicate when they finally realize they were duped by a narcissist. Whatever unrealistic optimism was within myself about him I aggressively and consciously had to replace it with realistic optimism when choosing someone else to be in my life in the future.
When I left him over five years ago with our six month old daughter, I filed for joint custody. She is now six years old. Currently, he spends a lot of time attempting to gain her love and her approval. He wants to be the “rock star” parent, it’s all a game to him. I would imagine when she starts to get older, the situation with the two of them may change of which that is a road I will go down when and if it comes.
After I filed for joint custody, he, naturally, filed for full custody. He lost. We worked on a parenting agreement for over a year, I utilized all that I know about him, how he operated and what he wanted in the short term (being the impulsive person he is), and I used it to get as many long-term significant items in the agreement that I could. He, naturally, was most concerned about “winning” and his big “win” was to be able to take our daughter on a trip about two weeks after he signed our parenting agreement. Although he’s manipulative, he is egotistical and egotistical people talk about what they are entitled to and as we know, narcissistic people are entitled to everything. This trip was to show off his prized possession and to show his friends and family, in his mind, that he had “won.” That was his gauge, I knew that.
About a year after our agreement was signed in 2007, he started to drop hints that “major changes” were coming. Looking back, I realized that I began to live in fear of what he was going to do and I was in denial about what he was going to do. I began to give in to him too much, I fell under the trap again that if I appease him, he will not pursue anything in the courts. In 2009, he determined that he couldn’t pay as much support monthly as was ordered back in 2007. He started to cut his support down each month, I didn’t pursue this back support in court at the time because I knew I could use as an ace in my pocket if he tried anything down the road. I let it add up over the years and although I say I was in denial about what was coming, I still prepared. Looking back, him cutting his support down each month was preparation for the future. Also, if you had asked me if I was preparing, I wouldn’t have admitted I was, but I was. You can never trust a narcissistic person….EVER. So, I saved everything. I wrote down interactions that didn’t always put him in the best light, I saved every dropped parenting time, every late pick up and drop off…for 3 years. I saved other items as well; things that I knew wouldn’t play well in court if a trial ever took place.
In 2011, he filed for 50/50 parenting time and tried to get additional items modified in our agreement. After he filed, I filed for 18K in back child support and I petitioned for him to pay my attorneys fees. He lost last Thursday. He also is in contempt of court for 18K and has to pay my fees. His requests for additional parenting time were not met by the courts because he doesn’t take the time currently allocated in our parenting order/agreement. As we know, narcissists don’t like to follow court orders. Only a narcissist would file petitions like he did while owing 18k in child support.
So, this court win for me was very important because of the obvious, my daughter will not be exposed to him anymore than what she is required to do now, she will not be put into a high conflict 50/50 parenting situation with her father and I. Also, the back support that I will receive will benefit her as well. From a personal standpoint, the court win has changed me. Prior to court, I was still letting him beat me down so that he wouldn’t file anything in court. My co-parenting relationship with him was affecting who I was allowing in my personal life. Winning in court has allowed me to change my pattern with him; I no longer have to live in fear of what he is going to do. I don’t have to appease him any longer nor do I need to bow down to him. I feel very strong, I feel very empowered and within myself my self esteem is rising back up daily!
Advice to women that wish to leave or are embattled in family court with a narcissist, you have to give up on a few things. You cannot change a narcissist; you cannot reason with a narcissist, you cannot convince them of anything especially you— the woman who is leaving them. Give up on changing them. What is most important is to understand your narcissist! Who he is, his motives, and what he values. Also, listen to your narcissist; you will gain a lot of information! I gain enormous amounts of information just by listening to him. Finally, do not trust him ever and always try to remain two steps ahead of him.
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