One Mom’s Battle Has Many Faces: #14

One Mom’s Battle Has Many Faces: #14

A note from Tina: Each week I hear from more and more people who were once victims of a Narcissist, Sociopath or other Cluster B Personality Disorder.  One Mom’s Battle has many faces and its my honor to share them with you.  My healing comes from sharing my story and from hearing your stories.  There is power in numbers and our numbers are growing.  It is my hope that this little “village” will be one strong voice which provides education to our court system and most importantly, brings change to our Family Court System. 

One Mom’s Battle Has Many Faces–men and women.

Here is Face #14- a Very Wise Gentleman and his Wife

My wife’s X comes from a very affluent family, so much so that his parents created “Education Trusts” for each of their three children (my step-kids) as tax shelters, and the trust of the oldest now holds over $200K.  Our oldest, my stepson, worked very hard and was admitted to the CSU Los Angeles engineering program, and he was to leave for his freshman year the day before yesterday, Sunday, 9/16.  His father handled the financial aid paperwork, as he barely works and takes all three kids as tax deductions.  Since it was his family’s trust that would pay for the balance of education expenses we thought that was a reasonable approach.  We heard nothing for the entire year, figuring everything was in order. His father even took him to his freshman orientation event in August.

As the date for our son’s departure approached, he started telling us that his father was securing a commercial (high interest) education loan to pay for his schooling, and not giving him access to the education trust fund.  We were very confused about this, thinking it was odd that he would take out a loan to pay for school when huge money was available to pay any expenses.  On Saturday the 15th, 18 hours before we were to leave for CSULA, our son informed us that his father informed him that his mother and I would be required to cosign for the loan along with his father (who doesn’t make enough to cosign alone) for him to be permitted to go to college the next day.

It took us a while to figure out the game, but it soon became clear that this was the X’s trap to force us to pay half of all college expenses, saving the trust his family had created for the kids.  The plan? College ends, children default, we pay half, and the trust pays half.  On Saturday afternoon, we thought we faced a stark choice: Our son’s education vs. our meager retirement savings. I am 60 years old, so co-signing a long-term loan destined to default would ruin us, which was entirely the point, of course.  As of 3:00 PM Saturday afternoon, our son was looking at our community college website, facing the likelihood he would not be going to college until January, despite all his planning, applying, testing, studying, and working toward this day.

Meanwhile, our other two children who were at their father’s house on Saturday informed us that their brother, according to the X, had “failed to apply for financial aid for college so he won’t be going tomorrow.” His entire family, holders of millions in assets, had closed ranks around narc-dad’s (I use the term “dad” loosely) story, by the way, as his uncle and executor for the trust as well as our son’s grandmother supported this decision, ignoring our son’s direct pleas for help to them. We believe it was a plan developed by the family’s financial advisors, as the X and his family typically aren’t that smart.

My wife posted this event to Facebook in despair, and within minutes a distant relative of hers whom she has never met, a former financial aid counselor at a university, contacted us to assist. She advised us to take our son to college anyway, and work with the school to develop a plan.  She added that freak parents screw their kids over all the time, and that college financial aid counselors have tools they can pull out of their hats to help kids stay in school.  Also, by showing up for school, our son would take legal control of his paperwork, removing narc-dad from the picture entirely.

My wife’s relative was right. While we still have a good deal of paperwork to take care of, CSULA was able to get our son moved into his dorm and he will be in classes while the finances get straightened out.  It turned out that narc-dad had opted to not sign the online FAFSA form (the federal financial aid instrument), stalling the award of any financial aid, a circumstance he subsequently blamed on our son. Narc-dad is best in passive-aggressive mode, and not so good at telling his kids to go screw themselves to their faces. Once his failure to sign was discovered, our son told him to sign the FAFSA immediately. Narc-dad complied, and the federal financial aid wheels began turning. I spent an expensive day with our son not only helping him resolve the paper puzzle, but also helping him process his father’s betrayal. It’s a hard way to begin your college career.

So what’s the takeaway? It has been a HUGE eye-opener for all our kids. They all got to witness their father lie about their oldest brother, and they witnessed him utterly betray him on what was one of the most important days of his young life.  So why did narc-X do this? For one reason only: to punish their mother for leaving him along with the man she eventually married. He calculated that we would not join him in the betrayal of our oldest child still at home (my own child is older), which was exactly correct. However, he did not count on our being resourceful enough to solve the puzzle his family and their advisors had crafted. Surely we would not allow our child to miss his first year at college, nor could we possibly be smart enough to avoid signing for that commercial loan at the last minute. Not only is our entire support community that smart as we answer his cruelty together, we are also smart enough to help the remaining kids prepare for what lies ahead for them, too, as they approach their college years. Narc-dad nuked any remaining trust the kids had in him, and he helped them to understand which household will take care of them when bad things happen. They also got to see first hand, in crystal clear fashion, just who it is that makes bad things happen in the first place.

So we’re still in recovery… my wife is traumatized by these events.  It is breathtaking what morally bankrupt individuals can justify in the name of self-righteous anger.  But we learn, and we learn how to not trust this particular monster, one step at a time.


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5 Responses

  1. This story had tears rolling down so fast, all I could hear was the soft tapping of tears on the chair below me. I know all too well the search for glory (at the cost of their own kids). My ex torched through $100k in our divorce with his need to “Prove he can’t pay support” while he stopped paying me what the court ordered him to. He had money to pay forensics experts (unnecessarily) to prove how much his company took a hit. He’s spent our kids’ future– college will have to be on their own merit through scholarships. He even took our kids’ life savings from the bank and spent it… and blamed ME that I asked him to. They’re freaking nuts. I wish they would be all diagnosed and shut away for good. The world would be a much better place without these maniacal villains. Who the heck rides on the backs of his own kids to benefit?

  2. My heart goes out to you and your family. We just experienced nearly the exact same scenario. Scrambling days before we were to leave to complete paperwork and secure financing while he drives around in a Maserati. And then managing the tears afterwards dealing with the chaos he caused. Thank God for this blog and the people sharing their stories because now my children have some understanding of the sickness that is their father. For the first time ever we don’t feel like we are alone.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Tears were rolling down my face reading this. I cannot imagine the utter despair a child would feel from this betrayal and the pain it must create in you as parents to watch. But it also helps those of us with younger children and N ex’es to prepare long term. My ex has promised repeatedly that the children’s college tuition is taken care of through his military benefits. THIS is a huge wake up call to me to plan, prepare and save, save, SAVE for the future. Thank you for sharing

  4. Your ex is correct to a degree. You can take this out of his control with a little prep. Contact your local military recruiter, they should be able to guide you to the proper office (I would think local VA office would be the place). There you can get pre-planning assistance fo college. Hope this helps some 🙂

  5. Thanks Jennifer,
    It’s through his VA as he was injured (not combat) and so the kids have tuition assistance. BUT should something happen (he get a dishonorable discharge or he do something to ruin it, which i wouldn’t put past him) this was a GREAT reminder that I cannot believe/trust/rely on him to do anything he says in regards to the children. Having a plan B is always a great thing with an N and college was something I’d not really taken the time to think about! I’ll still be contacting his VA to make sure that I can keep in line with what I can do NOW through the military benefits the kids have rights to though, especially since i have legal custody so thank you for that reminder too!