Divorcing a Narcissist: Another Ex Parte Hearing

Divorcing a Narcissist: Another Ex Parte Hearing

If you are looking for me, I am buried under paperwork.  I have been busy for the past two days preparing for my ex parte hearing.  My plan is to file on Tuesday and address the latest issue: the near drowning.  I have my paperwork together – a few edits are still needed and I am waiting on a handful of statements and declarations to support my documents.

Tuesday evening, my X called and my youngest daughter answered the phone.  She spoke to her father on speakerphone while sitting at the dining room table.  Glenn and I were in the kitchen talking and working on dinner.  We heard the X ask her what she wanted to do on the next visitation.  She replied that she wanted to have a play date.  He then suggested swimming.  She said, “I don’t want to go swimming”.  He sounded flustered and laughed nervously.  From his nervous tone, I almost wonder if someone was standing next to him listening.  He pressed further and she said it again, “I don’t want to go swimming”.  I was proud of her for using her voice.  He changed the topic and then spoke to my oldest daughter shortly after.

Sure enough, I received a text message about an hour and a half later.

  • X:  “(Daughter 2) swam happily in the pool all afternoon Sunday.  (Daughter 1) went in and swam her best yet.  I clearly know you are brain washing the girls because the first thing (Daughter 2) said to me today is, ‘Mommy said I don’t want to go swimming’.  Its just so damaging what you are doing to our daughters”
  • My Response: (We) were standing right in the kitchen and will testify that she never said that.  Do not text me.

The “Do not text me” was my second or third request this week.  Did it help?  Of course not.  I engaged him more than I should have with my response and kicked myself afterwards.  I shouldn’t have responded at all.

As a child, I grew up in a divorced household.  My father got custody of me when I was very young due to my mother’s mental instability and drug use.  My mother saw me very infrequently and she was not capable of being the mother I needed.  When I would go to her house she would always ask me who I wanted to live with.  I would tell her what she wanted to hear; that I wanted to live with her.  Like clockwork, she would call my dad and step mother to relay my wishes.  When asked by my dad or step-mother what my wishes were, I would always tell the truth: I wanted to live with them.  It was a horrible place to be as a child.  My mother often put me in the middle.  I hated that feeling.  I didn’t want to hurt her feelings but in my heart, I knew what I wanted.

I never want my daughters to feel like they are in the middle.  I know how that feels and I would never wish that on them.  I have learned to listen without probing and I think that they respect me for the position I’ve taken in regards to their father.  They will divulge little things that are bothering them here and there and I am careful to listen.  “Quick to listen, slow to speak”.  There are two tools that I have come to lean on through this process: encouraging my daughter to journal her feelings and utilizing her therapist.  It is nice to have an impartial person who is trained to help my daughter deal with emotions and issues in her life.  We talk a lot about “choices” and that some people make good choices and some people make poor choices.  It is amazing how many times they have translated that over when referring to their father: “Dad makes poor choices”.

I have been struggling with whether or not to have my oldest daughter speak directly to Minor’s Counsel.  So far, she hasn’t been put in that position however, at the age of 7 and given the fact that she is very mature and articulate—it isn’t out of the realm of possibilities.  She is very clear about her wishes when it comes to her father and I am leaning towards giving her a voice (or a megaphone) in this issue.  It makes me sad that her voice is needed but I feel like I am being left with few options at this point.

6 Responses

  1. Great work! I suggest that as you write your ex parte motion you read it once imagining you are your X and his attorney. Anticipate their reaction and if you can, address, within your motion, anything about their reaction that might sound reasonable to the judge. For example, it sounds like your X is trying to build a case that he is turning your little girls into great swimmers. The judge may like that. So you could say, in your motion, “I want both girls to turn into strong swimmers as soon as possible. I have enrolled them in swimming lessons [sign up!] and plan to back this up during the summer with trips to the local pool [twice a week or whatever you can manage] where both the lifeguards and I will be closely supervising. I want them to learn to swim, but in a safe setting where there is no risk of their drowning as they develop their skills.”
    I have read that children are actually MORE likely to drown when they start in swimming lessons (before becoming accomplished swimmers). I believe this is because they become bolder around water but do not fully understand the risks as a normal adult would. You could include mention of this if you can find a good quote on a reputable site. The judge likely will not know this and may think lessons will solve the problem. You need to make it clear that no matter how well a young child can swim, they can still drown. And that you strongly support their developing new skills. (X will probably want to paint you as both timid and controlling and so on … of course you need to replace this with the fact that you are sensible and strong and want the same for you daughters.)
    In case the judge has a sentimentality about fathers and swimming and children, you could say that you will allow the girls to swim with him if there is a court-appointed supervisor present. (There are supervisors who will go on outings, which maybe you know already.)
    Hope this helps! Good for you for being so proactive.

  2. Tina, ask her if she would like to speak on her own behalf. If she is ready, she will say yes. Or, maybe you can tell her to think anout if she would want to and then have Minor’s Counsel ask her if she wants to. You don’t have to push or prod, you already know that. She will when she is ready, just let her know she is allowed to any time she wishes. I also agree with Sympathetic’s comments. My daughter always went in the pool with a life jacket while with her Dad. When we went on vacation with her step-dad, he took her to the pool and she jumped in wthout a thought…except she didn’t have her life jacket and sunk like a stone. Thankfully my best friend’s husband was quick on his feet. My dumb-ass husband stood there not wanting to get wet (he is the Narc or more likely BPD in my life). Kids are not equipped to supervise themselves, no matter how grown up and mature they seem. Good luck to you and your girls in your court date.

  3. This post brought up a lot of issues in my own mind. My husband had his brother snatch our children when they were small; I had started counseling and was becoming a bit more assertive as it became clear that my “problems” weren’t “all me” or just in “my” head. However, I had been set up; as soon as he had the girls, he proceeded to have me thrown into a mental hospital, stating that I was going to kill our pastor (who was present during the child snatching as was supposed to guarantee “safe passage” for me to pick up some things so we could stay with a friend and hopefully, we would get our problems worked out. EXTREMELY traumatizing to me and eventually resulted in more “mental instability”. My husband of course capitalized on his ill-gained advantage … I feel extremely blessed and fortunate to realize today that I was injured, not insane and also, to have the strength to resist labels and such which, like my in-laws,would have painted me AS the problem. One of my hopes as I work to redevelop career … to work with people who’ve developed injuries (psychological) that puts them at disadvantage and the risk or reality of losing their relationships/assets. I’m sorry to hear about the stresses with your mother; like you my father had custody b/c my mother had problems … I did not see her for years when I was young, but when I did (finally)she did not stress me out as you experienced. I was able to go through her medical records a few years back and the memories I have of her from early childhood and those pages in her chart that describe her childhood and life as a young woman lead me to think she was misdiagnosed and therefore, mistreated.

    The other thing that this post really brought up in my mind (and I am glad you are not “gung-ho” on trying to get your daughter’s voice out there no matter the emotional cost to her) was getting a letter from the Court one day, opening it and finding a copy of a letter written in childish handwriting. My daughter had written a letter to the judge, stating that she “really didn’t want” to come to see me anymore, that she was afraid of me and that if she must, she really hoped the judge would make it restricted and supervised visitation. Talk about heartache … my daughters did continue to visit me; one day they were sitting on the couch at a friend’s house with me and proceeded to tell my (much older) friend that their grandmother had told them “mommy is going to kill” them. They were also told that I have “paranoid schizophrenia” and bipolar disorder. If those types of things hadn’t had some profoundly negative impact in their lives and mine, I would probably laugh.

    Yours is more omission (neglect); mine is intentional commission but they can both lead to some pretty serious consequences. In fact, I spoke with him because of an incident where she and I fell onto the fireplace another earlier, where our daughter totally disregarded me and tore off in a vehicle in a state of high emotion (and though I had called his mother and told her not to let our daughter take the vehicle; she and an aunt totally disregarded my authority), asking him if his antics are worth our daughter (or any of us) dying, getting seriously injured, or in the case of the vehicle, someone else suffering. I can only conclude that he (and grandmother and aunt really don’t give a care) is only focused on getting his own way, no matter the cost or consequence to others. Very hard to even understand. As well as adding the dilemmas and extra workload into an already “busy enough” life.

    I empathize with your struggle, both the internal on HOW to handle it and the outward (dealing with him and Court). I also liked Sympathetic’s suggestions. Court is one of those places that I always think “you can never be too prepared”. It is a shame that having had a “high conflict” spouse can lead to so much turmoil and waste (time, money, etc) when children should be getting as much interested, distraction free (for the parent) attention as possible so they can gain the self-discipline, skills and knowledge to be able to successfully navigate through life – especially when they hit adulthood. Not to mention plenty of time to laugh, play games and build as many pleasant and loving memories as possible to serve as a guide in their own relationships. I hope things go well and especially, that you get some of that quality time soon!

  4. I am so proud of you Tina for not sitting back and letting this slide. We have to let so many things “slide” with these npd’s, things that just absolutely rip our hearts out. We have to let them slide because drawing attention to them will make the npd furious, and make situations worse for both us and our kids. Just like that text response that you regretted sending…dont beat yourself up for that. These npd’s text and email so many horrible words, constantly jabbing, jabbing. We take deep breaths and ignore as many as possible but sometimes, my goodness it’s just too much. Sometimes we slip and defend ourselves, as you did. Some things we just can’t let “slide”. So fantastic for taking this matter to court. I pray for you. There has to be some justice for us, the great moms who just want to protect our babies. On a side note, sometimes I wish these judges would watch the nature channels and see that on the most animalistic level, mothers have do everything in their power to protect their young. We are no different.

  5. Tina – my heart goes out to you. I was put in the exact same siutation as you when I was a child. Both my parents would ask me who I wanted to live with, and I too would give them both the same answer. I’m constantly making an effort to not put my daughter in the middle. It’s difficult when the X tries so hard to put her there. Good luck on Tuesday and hope you enjoy your holiday weekend!

  6. I was going to say something about the text messages we constantly get from our ex’s too. My counselor always says “Do NOT answer any of them.” Sometimes I slip and say something back and that’s when he goes full blast on me…I’ve learned the hard way just to let them all slide, even the ones that ask how our son is, at noon, when he knows he’s been at school since 8am!

    Tina, good luck to you on Tuesday…know that we’ll all be thinking about you!