The Narcissist’s Mother: “Cleo” -Queen of DeNial

The Narcissist’s Mother: “Cleo” -Queen of DeNial

I am going through old emails to prepare my case for the upcoming parenting evaluation.  In 2009, I had the password to my x’s emails because I often helped him to send out job resumes.  During the summer of 2009, I was aware of email communications between his mother and his aunt. I had skimmed many of them back in 2009 but I actually took the time to start reading them this week and “disturbing” would be one way to describe them.

In many of these emails, his mother and Aunt would actually write emails for him to put their own spin (lies) on various situations (squeezing my daughter, alcohol abuse, etc).  I came across one such email yesterday and thought I would share a few snippets from what she wrote to the x in an email– to clarify, she was helping him to draft an email to my family members:

(Dear Son)- Let’s try something like this instead.  Your first draft is heartfelt and true, but it’s going to fall on deaf ears – and very likely be used against you (inebriated at a friend’s/your comment about Tina. And your admitting fault in too much detail will be used against you). 

(What you wrote may be useful to hand to Tina at some point, but not by email because then she can just hit “Forward” and it goes to anyone she wants. A hard copy is a little more difficult to send along.)  Think of this as a chess game; you have to outsmart her and if you react emotionally, you’ll be feeding right into her game plan, NOT yours.

You give them too much information, which they are not really entitled to. I know Tina has already bashed you to them, so you can’t really think they are going to believe your version more than hers. Therefore, keep it simple and true.  It public speaking/presentations you:  “Say what you’re going to tell them.”  “Tell them.” And then, “Tell them what you’ve told them.”  Try this or a version of:

There is only one purpose to this email: to briefly express my 100% focus and commitment to (the girl’s)  emotional and physical well being while Tina and I engage in the divorce proceedings and subsequently, the changed reality of our lives after the divorce is final. It is my hope that despite the failure of our marriage, that the girls will be part of both our lives and all our lives. They need and deserve each of us equally, and they need a positive supportive extended family – from both sides.  It is possible for divorced couples to remain friends and to – for the sake of the children involved – maintain a semblance of mutual respect and cooperation.  I would like Tina and me to work toward this.  Signed, Father/former husband



Some of Tina’s concerns from my perspective: My lack of emotion and affection: I have trouble showing emotion and being affectionate.  I am not sure why – there is something genetic here. Relationship skills are not an area of strength for me.  Maybe I spent so much time developing my scholastic achievements that I missed some key opportunities to grow interpersonally. 

I wish Tina had been more willing to help me break out of my shell in this way. I needed her to show me how, to initiate more. Perhaps she did try, but never in 6 years did Tina greet me at the door with a hug and a kiss and warm greeting.  She wanted me to provide this affection but I felt awkward doing so. She is the strong one on the emotional/ affectionate front. She could have nudged me out of my shell. This also would have been an excellent focus in our counseling sessions, which instead deteriorated into the list of what was wrong with me.

Success: (Our) pastor spoke about the difference between success and significance a couple of Sundays ago. I have to admit this was a useful distinction for me.

Success for me meant being at the top of the curve in everything.  In college I strived to score in the top 10% of every class. I have always put a lot of pressure on myself.  The materialism, the house, the cars have been my way to be on top of the curve in the real world. Clearly the past year has caused me to question whether I have been on the wrong path.  However I still struggle with how can I provide less than the best possible for our girls? I am wiling to acknowledge that I overspent in trying to provide a beautiful home, new cars, furniture, the California dream lifestyle for my family.


Note from Tina:

Not only is  “Cleo” in denial but she is trying to shift the blame of her son’s complete inability to show emotions and affection onto ME?  Life according to “Cleo” means that I should have run towards the front door and embraced the stressed out, angry man that I had lost all respect for based solely on his own actions.  In my opinion, that would have made me the mini-queen of DeNial which is what was expected of me– and the reason that I obviously didn’t last in this family.

I hope that the emails that I am reading are equally disturbing and clear to the courts as they are to me.

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17 Responses

  1. Tina,
    Good for you that you kept those emails!
    I remember once going to my mother in law to get some help with my X and his temper tantrums that were totally out of proportion to whatever he was angry about. She claimed to have no idea of what I was talking about! I knew that I was on my own then and later, my former sister in law said that the mother was the parent in the family that had such a bad temper! No wonder she would not/could not see her son for who he was.
    Stay strong! Keep going!
    Just make sure that you are safe.

  2. I so feel your pain!! I’m not only divorcing my narcissist, I’m also divorcing my possibly bigger narcissist mother-in-law! She was always in our business and she is sure doing his dirty work now. Love the name you came up with for her!
    My m-in-law knew that most of the problems in our marriage stemmed my ex’s addiction to internet dating sites. She went and bought him a laptop 2 weeks after I moved out so he wouldn’t miss a thing. She’s his worst enabler and biggest coach on how to manipulate and fool people.

  3. Yikes. Cleo is far from being in denial. Tina, she is dishonest, an enabler as well as an accomplice in your ex’s nefarious schemes against you and your daughters. Fortunately, God represents all that is GOOD, and He is on your side. The truth will continue to come out. Your ex’s true colors have already materialized in court. Although it will be comical to see how your ex and his family repeatedly perjure themselves on the stand, the court will not find their behavior as amusing. Hone in on the lies, and identify the discrepancies between what was stated in declarations and testimony during hearings. Apply the same logic once you receive a copy of the evaluation report. Your ex and his team will continue to twist the truth and shift the blame to you. All they have to work with are lies. Deflect and redirect these claims towards your ex with evidence.

    You are in the midst of a very tough battle, but this moment in your life is temporary. Eventually, peace and order will be restored in your world. Hang in there. Fight on!

  4. I have to comment on this one. His family sounds so much like my ex’s family. Thank the Lord that his parents are no longer around as they would fuel the court battles. But he does have siblings and they are just like him and back him up and try to focus all the blame on me. It’s ironic because my ex is a lot older than me and has a son close to my age. His sons girlfriend used to call our house crying because the son was beating on her too. It’s amazing how much they look the other way, then shift the blame on the victims.

    Your mother in law doesn’t sound like queen of denial. She sounds like a full blown narcissist to me! After all she did raise him. You were smart to keep the emails.

  5. You are right. She plays the role of denial very well but these emails gave me a glimpse into who she really is. Far from Mary Poppins.

  6. I have many, many emails from his mom and his aunt. No one will believe their stories by the time I am done presenting these emails that conflict with every declaration they’ve submitted. The sickness runs very deep 🙁

  7. Winnie, that was exactly what I was thinking as well as I read this.

    Great call!

  8. Be strong Tina and leave the worrying to God (as much as you are able).

    I am praying for you.

  9. She sounds so similar to my ex-MIL, whom I got the extreme pleasure (please note the sarcasm dripping from this sentence) of getting to know 1 on 1 after supporting her in my home with my money for a year.

    These women are queen’s alright. They are queens of creating and raising monsters who are no more than puppets to fill their own voids and desires. The sad part is that you can see very evidently in that one email how she operates with control and creating a battle. She does not want her son to be outed because ultimately it reflects on HER. Sounds as if your ex had the gut instinct to take some accountability in his emails, but his mother jumps in because it is HER plan, her son, her grandchildren and ultimately all about HER.

    After reading that they also have hired him an attorney I would not be at all surprised if the Ex-N is in reality a severely damaged N who is fighting to be exactly what his mother wants him to be, which is an impossible creation because she herself is an N. So sad … the denial is there. The denial that they are anything but toxic for innocent children and all people who come into their lives because they do not need treatment or help.

    But, it is also good to be reminded of this info. Smoke out the queen bee and the worker bees will find another hive 😉

  10. I call my ex-MIL an ostrich. She put her head in the sand every time, and still does 12 years after our divorce. She opened her doors to him every time he had a new girlfriend and I put him out. She did his laundry, cooking, made his lunches AND gave me a book from Dr. Dobson to study on how to be a good wife. According to her, and God, f I were a good wife he never would have strayed…She testified against me in court, saying that she told him he shouldn’t have married me in the first place. I had to laugh at that one. I know that’s not true because she actually wrote a script for him on how to ask me to marry him. He chickened out and just said, “Here, wear this before I loose it.” tossed the ring at me and walked away, leaving me to carry the luggage to our hotel room. (we were in Cabo). What an idiot I was.

    I hope the courts will also see the Cleo in your ex-MIL with your documentation. What is his Aunt’s name going to be? She reminds me of the Hansel and Gretel witch, pretending to care for the welfare of children, yet wants to eat them. Aunties real job is to protect children, yet she wants to throw yours to the big bad wolf. Amazing. I can’t imagine being able to live with myself.

  11. My x-mil wrote in e-mail that “he never abused you emotionally” and if he did it must have been because I did something to “provoke” him. Go figure, so all woman who are emotionally abused by their husbands/partners are actually responsible for their abuse!!??

    One thing I can say to her though is that she was right about one thing. . .I should have never married her narc son!!

    Queen of denial’s twin sister!

  12. Tina,
    I totally understand….My exes mother said jump and he said how hi……the whole family centered around what she wanted and she got it, no matter whom it hurt! Thank you for sharing,

  13. This is truely shocking Tina, a peek behind the dynamics which one rarely sees… very creepy and disturbing. I worry about the vileness and anger these people must feel towards you for exposing them so clearly. I so look forward to your book. I think you have actually taken this out of the courts now and put it into the global conscience. You are amazing. You have lifted yourself out of the games of the family law system and held up your truth to a higher justice. When you launch this book, please do it here in Ireland too and please come here to speak… we need you. I hope to purchase a copy for every family law judge here in Ireland and everyone who claims to have the interest of children at heart in this rotten system. So expect a bulk order xx

  14. My MIL is the REASON my X is a narc, not just an enabler. He created a shield from her as a child. She is controlling to a degree that I have never seen before. Now, he parents our children the same way she parented him, with brute force and control. I can only show them another way and listen when they complain about him. At 9 and 11, they already see his narcissism, but don’t call it that. They use their terms, but their stories make me cry for them. They see what I couldn’t see as an adult.

  15. My ex father in law stated to me that I must ask myself what I said to my ex to make him assault me, rape me, hold a gun to my head and more. I was like really – I did something to him? Well yes you should have done what he told you without question. Anther one of ‘those’ moments.

  16. Scary! My XMIL was truly in denial. She said her son downloaded child porn by mistake, and that the internet is the devil…

    In your case your XMIL is just as bad as your X, if not worse! Because she seems to understand that he is disturbed and is trying to make him look normal.