Divorcing a Narcissist: Our Family Wizard Review

Divorcing a Narcissist: Our Family Wizard Review

If I were asked to cite one of the most frustrating aspects of divorcing a narcissist or sharing custody with a narcissist, it would be communication.

A simple request to change visitation time by 15 minutes isn’t a major issue if you have two normal and healthy parents who care about the best interest of the children.  When you are dealing with a sociopath or narcissist, a quick two-sentence email opens the door for a 10-page manifesto which is sure to include personal attacks, bizarre ramblings and passive aggressive statements that are designed to evoke fear.

I have become a pro at the “limited engagement rule” although with children, there is some form of engagement that will be required for the next 13 years of my life and probably much longer.  A few women on my board have recommended the software program, “Our Family Wizard” and I decided to give it a try.  It’s been less than two weeks but I am hopeful that it will make a big difference in my life.  I am going to think of it as another tool for survival- the communication tool….

Here are a few highlights which I have taken from their website:

  • Easily coordinate your shared custody and joint custody parenting time schedules while keeping accurate records with the Our Family Wizard calendar.
  • Take the confusion out of splitting the expenses with your co-parent through the Our Family Wizard expense log.
  • Easily stay up-to-date with your child’s health records, immunization histories, school information, and more with the Our Family Wizard information bank.
  • You don’t have to worry if an email got to where it needed to go anymore with the safe and secure Our Family Wizard message board.

In the past, I have promoted the idea of having an email account (gmail or like program) set up specifically for communication with the “X”.  I used to dread opening my email because I never knew what kind of rant or attack was waiting for me.  Our Family Wizard allows you to take this concept a step further and in addition, emails can be monitored by the court, a parenting evaluator or minor’s counsel.   So far, I’m very impressed with the program.  I was able to go into the calendar and add his visitation times and upcoming court dates.  I also uploaded receipts and the calculator totals how much is to be paid by each party based on your own court ordered percentages.  There is no need for me to notify him–it notifies each party when something new has been added and each party can see when the other has logged in.

They even have something called the “Tone Meter”!  It actually monitors the tone of your email much like spell check would on a regular email program. This is the “Tone Meter” description straight from their website: Think of it as your emotional spell-check. ToneMeter identifies and flags emotionally charged sentences within your message. As intuitive as grammar or spell-check, ToneMeter goes beyond sentiment to gauge words and phrases against 8 levels of connotative feeling, allowing the end user to make real-time corrections and adjust the overall tone of messages using an easy-to-use menu system.

I know that some of you have used the program and I’ve even heard a few people state that theirs was court ordered.  I would love your feedback on your experience and if it helped you in court.  It looks like reports can be generated for the court which is another feature that I am excited about.  Comment away!  Tina

Our Family Wizard: Click here to learn more

  • Going through a custody battle or divorce with a “high conflict” person?  Purchase “Tina’s Tips” for advice and insight to help with your battle and your peace of mind.

 

44 Responses

  1. This is very interesting. So, how did you get your ex on board with this? I can just imagine the struggle I would have getting my ex on board.

  2. Liz- I sent it to him by email and told him that he didn’t need to pay for it…that I had taken care of his portion (because I knew that would be his first issue). I emailed him the info to call in and set up his account and I cc’d our Minor’s Counsel the information as well. I basically told him that this program was recommended as a tool to co-parent more effectively.

    I am able to see that he did log in and he even emailed me from the account. It could be to make himself look like he is trying (court date on the horizon, etc) but I’m hoping he will stay in line since the girls’ attorney has access to log in and see details.

  3. My STBX will not agree to it unless I PAY FOR IT! The judge will not order it since we are a “poor” county (I hear this time and time again, thus why they establish a one size fits all standard custody arrangement to keep child support low) I’m the only one using the system at the moment and decided it’s great but only if the other party is on board, or is ordered to pay and USE it otherwise, it’s an expensive journal/calender to keep on track with his parenting time. I love the idea of it, but ultimately unless you can get a judge to order it and enforce it I’m afraid it’s pretty useless 🙁

  4. Alix- so frustrating.

    If nothing else, it gives me one place to document and store everything and it shows that I am trying to co-parent with him. Of course, the initial email notifying him of the program was met by a huge rant from him! Did I expect less– no 🙂

  5. I’ve been using this program for a year but only for e-mail and I had no idea there was a Tone Meter!! BRILLIANT! I have to say, while it’s subdued my ex somewhat, he still threatens to sue me from time to time. And I wonder what a judge would really do besides issue a stern warning to a hostile e-mailing ex. I should check out the expenses/scheduling options. Great review.

  6. Pauline- The “Tone Meter” is an added feature that doesn’t come with the original purchase BUT it made me laugh. Brilliant! 🙂

  7. I was Our Family Wizard – yes great program if you are with a cooperating parent. This was a few years ago and my ex refused to use and I was railed with his continued abusive language.

  8. I wish my ex would use something like this. He refuses to use a computer, says he cannot spell and that is his excuse to not text. He insists on verbally informing me of things by ranting and belittling or using the kids as messengers. (All no no’s) I wish he would “get with the program” and be civil, but that is too much to ask. Meanwhile, he is alienating his children and continuing to show the world what a piece of work he is. But, it’s all my fault, typical Narc behavior.

  9. Just looking at this post, and the replies. Simply brilliant initiative. Keep plugging away girls. Eventually the benefits to everybody will become so obvious, that the courts will order it.

  10. I would have loved to have this type of program. I don’t think my XN would have agreed to use it nor would he have complied with an order to do so. Anything that would have forced him to be cooperative would have been totally ignored.

  11. Moms,

    Some of you are going to have 18 more years of dealing with a narcissistic co-parent. Not every case will settle prior to trial. As a family lawyer with 25 years of experience, I can tell you these important things:

    (A) The less communication you have with an angry, mean, controlling person who merely wants to ruin your day (week after week and year after year) by slinging cruel words at you and blaming you for everything that has gone wrong, the better off you will be.

    (B) Our Family Wizard can be an absolute barrier to this kind of guy. He cannot get to you personally. OFW will establish a track record of bad communications that you might get to use against him later.

    (C) From the perspective of a family lawyer, I want emails and text messages to use against someone in a future custody modification motion or parenting time modification or relocation motion. BUT I want reliable evidence. I will challenge the authenticity of every email or text message coming from a narcissist–particularly one with any kind of technical computer skills. I want to be sure that the document has not been altered. On the other hand, for my client who is using OFW, I can authenticate the document and get it admitted.

    (D) Aside from everything that has been said in prior comments, once OFW is in the picture, the custodial parent (CP) should not have to provide any other information to the non-custodial parent (NCP). By law, the NCP has the legal right to go to the school or doctor or dentist, etc. and obtain records and information. You’ve got the big responsibilities as a CP. Let him put on his big-boy pants and do his job. OR, let him pay the $8/month for OFW and get the information about dates for medical appointments, school plays, etc. the easy way. You have no obligation to give him the info.

    $8/month. That’s the cost of one lunch out–or one 6-pack of beer.

    I suggest that you tell him–get over it. Sign up. Then we can settle the case, sign the judgment of divorce and move on. Continue to argue about this and we’ll ask the judge. Even if the judge has never granted such a request before, that is not a guarantee that he or she won’t grant it this time. This is particularly true in some cases where there has been obvious over-reaching and acrimony. When the judge hears that this is simply to erect barriers to harassment in the future, the judge–who makes the ultimate decision–(not the Friend of the Court who may be an early “stand-in”)–may very well tell the guy to suck it up and pay it.

    Ladies, give yourselves a break. Safe communications. A safe and reliable method of tracking of expenses, communication and thus good evidence for the future. Don’t let the guy beat you down.

    See my Blog with many more helpful posts to help you take charge of your lives and your divorces and make life more bearable for you and for your children. The URL is by my name.

    Jeanne M. Hannah
    Family Law Attorney

  12. Alix,

    Go here (http://www.ourfamilywizard.com/ofw/index.cfm/plans-pricing/our-family-wizard-scholarship-accounts/) and apply for a Scholarship account. But know, in some cases having OFW only makes things worse as it is just another avanue for one parent to abuse the other, yes it is proof of the abuse but in this day in age when it is the x-wife that is abusive and no one will do a thing about her nasty words and agressive tactics and the judge orders the x-husband to communicate with the bitter woman then it only makes matters worse. I see all the comments on here are about women dealing with an abusive male but trust me, there are abusive women out there too.

    Best of luck to you, I hope it gets better.

  13. The judge in my husband’s case ordered that his x-wife sign off on adding a prof. with the PDC (Personal Development Center) to their account so that she could monitor the account and keep an eye on what is going on. His x-wife fought it tooth and nail because she is the abusive one, but in the end the judge ordered her to sign the papers. Hopefully having the third party will curtel her abuse. If you work through a center for your exchanges you could talk to someone there about haing a case worker added to your OFW, it might just help.

    I hope things get better for you.

  14. My ex is now refusing to use it and is only leaving me voicemails telling me to call him back. I’ve already had one temp restraining order on him for harrassing me through regular email, the judge advised him to use it (but didn’t order it) and he still refuses to put anything in writing…probably because he can’t control himself. His attorney wants me to mediate”communication” with him because all email, particularly on OFW is “inefficient and ineffective”. What a crock. He won’t pay me for the expenses in there until we mediate communication. OFW is a great help, but I’m at a loss now that he’s reusing to log on and check it.

  15. Also, his last OFW email was that it was his LAST OFW email. I still write and send them, then once a week mail them to his attorney…

  16. I have recently heard of this but haven’t tried it. Not sure if I want to spend the money on it at this point. I have to say it would have been extremely useful to us in the beginning. I do agree with your opening paragraph or two, you wrote it to a T what I’ve had to deal with. But at the moment we’ve got it down to virtually No contact and everything is set in stone and he expects me to pay for 1/2 of everything but never offers to pay for 1/2 of what I need help with so I have stopped asking. It causes more problems than solves them.

  17. Its a great tool. It does not stop the controlling though. It is just another way that the crazy woman (in our case) can have control and “fix” things according to their interpretation of the order. The only good thing is that it is legal and there is a court usable record. Otherwise for us, the year after year crap is still in effect.

  18. Stacy,

    I am in the same boat as you as far as “the crazy woman” the one we deal with uses it to launch attacks and attempt to push buttons in order to get a rise out of her x. The abuse is non stop and when it is taken to court the Judge does not even bother to look into her messages/entries instead he has the opinion that the male is always in the wrong no matter what is going on. I hope your situation gets better.

  19. Hello,

    I love the Family Wizard site but it isn’t working for us and ours is court ordered. My ex refuses to reply to any communication in regards to the child affected. I am hoping that the court truly does monitor the site as they say they do.
    My ex wrote me and said we were required to sign up for the Family Wizard but were not ordered to use it exclusively so….

  20. I just want to make a quick comment to you Jeanne regarding asking the “Ladies” to give themselves a break. FYI it’s some of the men that ALSO need the break. My boyfriend is going through a horrible divorse and his soon to be ex WIFE is an unreasonable hateful stalker. She has stooped to levels I never thought I would see an adult stoop to. I just want to clearify that this website works for BOTH parties. I only hope that SHE will abide to the rules & conditions.

  21. Thank you for the additional validation. Now, if only I could get my ex to use it. The last family court judge didn’t mandate it because…well, it seemed like she said that our communication was broken enough that ordering it wasn’t going to do any good.

    Today he pled guilty to violating a no-contact order and STILL demands that I go to mediation to find an alternative solution to OFW. Previous reams of emails from him say that email doesn’t work for him. (Irony quite visible). OFW doesn’t currently “work” for him because it’s “ineffective and inefficient.” So…he’s taken to sending hand-written letters through the mail. Yep, more irony there. I’m refusing to meet with him in person or discuss/make decisions about the kids over the phone. I’ve said that I want everything in writing for BOTH of our protections.

    We’ve both already paid for a year of OFW and yet he won’t use it. Today I lost my tongue during court (It scares the crap out of me being there) and didn’t ask the Judge to order him to use it. Ugh.

    If anyone has any thoughts on how to get him to use it, I’m all ears. It would be lovely not to have to pay for mediation just to get him to use a system that’s already in place.

  22. Jeanne,

    You consistantly refer to the Narcissist as a he or him – in fact there are many women who are Narcissist and even are abusive.

    It would be quite nice if you would give the kind gentalmen who are in the same boat as the ladies you have spoken to a break as well and let them know that indeed there are abusive women in this world as well and we are here for them (the men) as well.

    Thank you and God Bless

  23. As I am reading through all of comments, therefore Family Wizard must be a court order? I am so glad if that is the case. I am currently in a battle for custody with a narcissist. He’s extremely manipulative. One time, I told him my patient was coded and had to pick up our daughter at 730PM instead of 7PM. (I am a critical care nurse). He said ok in the beginning but then he used that against me saying that he will inform the minor’s counsel about this because I had to fix my schedule. I was saving lives and he does not work. This is frustrating. Minor’s counsel suggested Family Wizard.

  24. I will definitely order this book, Tina’s Divorcing a narcissist. Been though a lot and I hope the court system will change someday.

  25. Samantha, OFW doesn’t have to be court-ordered. Parents could agree to use if for convenience sake. However, when dealing with the uncooperative parent, a court order is the most likely way of getting it. It’s especially important when dealing with narcissists because it eliminates the “he said/she said” argument or the difficulty of proving the authenticity of emails or texts.

  26. I wrote a post about Our Family Wizard. I used it and was not impressed. Plus, I’d like to see the monopoly of OFW end. Why is that the program the courts support. I went through an 8 year court battle with an abusive narcissist, and had to get sole custody to stop the madness. One thing you need to know is, if you think judges and parenting consultants/coordinators or anyone reads those email, you’d be wrong. It rarely happens. I agree with what the lawyer above said about minimal communication, but in MN our court authorities push a lot of togetherness and communication. It is quite sick. I have been on both sides of it and am a trained neutral, but really there is no court fix to this kind of relationship. Read my post, “Myths about Our Family Wizard” for more info

    http://thecourtcrazinessblog.thecoparentcoach.com/2012/05/24/myths-about-our-family-wizard.aspx#comment-18788395

  27. Would this program be suitable to all countries..? just reading thru all the comments, I feel I could benefit from it….also my children…i have given my email to my ex for contacting me, as im tired of the continual harrasment via phone and text…however she declined saying she had no time to use email!!! I would like to think that this program may be exactly what we need! Anything would help right now!! Really had enoug of the hurtful mind games and attacks on me…i just want to be the best father I canz thanks

  28. I agree with you that moving the battle to OFW is simply moving the battle. And I also agree that MN courts push the togetherness piece — clearly the assumption is that everything’s always a misunderstanding and two parents who love their kids will always do what’s right for them if a judge tells them to.

    What I liked about OFW, though, was that I could see when my ex read an email, so he couldn’t claim he hadn’t seen it (like he used to do with regular email).

  29. Well I am dealing with a sociopath, narcissist, and borderline personality ex-wife. Diagnosed by 3 therapists and on court record. I have been dealing with parental alienation, child abuse, false allegations, not providing our child his medicine, she moves constantly and wants to take him out of his school, nasty vile emails, threats, manipulation, you name it she does it and gets away with it. I have had proof and nothing works. The courts now offer this Family Wizard. The courts have done nothing for 9 yrs with documents in hand, now they think this is going to scare her. She knows they won’t do anything so she continues. Will the wizard get her to give our son his meds so he does not get sick? Will it have her share information like she is supposed to? Will it stop her from telling my son terrible things about me or stop her from trying to get our son to replace me with her current husband? This seems like another ploy by the courts to avoid their responsibility of making a decision, instead they dish it off to counselors, evaluators, coordinators, mediators, parenting classes, and now this Wizard. If they would enforce the court ordered agreement and start taking custody away from these adversarial parents, maybe some would shape up. I have 50/50 custody and I still have to pay her child support on top of it. She makes decisions based on what she wants, not what is best for the child, plus she makes the opposite decision just to engage me in battle. The Wizard thing is a joke!

  30. Tony, sounds like you were married to and had kids with my husbands x. If she is like his x then ofw is just going to make it worse. I am sorry for you and your child and what you are going through. Hang in there and know I am praying for you both.

  31. My ex-husband goes on OFW and changes visitation days against our MSA for days that are convenient for his social life without my approval. He then threatens my children that he will pull them out of private school of which I pay half if they don’t go with him on my timeshare. He then will not allow them to attend a friend’s party when they visit with him and makes them stay indoors while he goes out and not take them anywhere even for dinner.

  32. Start off by sending a confirmation delivery letter saying that you will be communicating with him throught the OFW as well as a text message (and save it). You need to continue to only use the OFW to communicate with him – since you need an offical record of communication. If he calls to say you didn’t tell him something, tell him to check the OFW. It could be a message you sent him or other information you can share with him – schedules, expenses, etc. Keep doing that, do not use his regular email or phone to discuss or inform him – tell him to message you on the OFW and say goodbye.
    My son went to mediation with his X to mediate how to better communicate and some other things and it was the mediator who suggested to the court that they use the OFW. So the judge ordered it.

  33. mediators are not supposed to make recommendations to the court. their job is to try and get the two parties to agree on issues. neither party is obligated to agree on anything.

  34. After filing a few contempts of court with my ex-husband, the lawyers advised that we use Our Family Wizard. I was married to a narcissistic high-functioning alcoholic. My sickness was co-dependency. Previously, I would emotionally try to “convince” him that he needed to get help and heal so that he could be truly present for the children. Maddening things, like not helping with his children’s education and using the excuse that I did not talk to him about it first, is a lie but that is par for the course with him. I now feel sorry for him and can’t imagine what is going on inside his brain.

    Using Our Family Wizard has helped tremendously. Writing long emails to my ex was not productive and only kept me from growing. I now try to keep it short and direct. Recently, he has stopped using OFW and has become more detached from the children. His is blacking out more but still holds a highly prestigious position with an oil and gas company. It is the nature of his sickness. His career is the one thing that still inflates his ego (besides his narcissist mother). The only answer, for me, is to keep moving forward and treasure my own life and the time spent with my children.

  35. Tony, in some jurisdictions, court appointed mediators are required to make recommendations to the court if the parties don’t agree. It’s called “recommending mediation.”

  36. Hi i was wondering if anyone has heard of the National Coalition for men? I just found out about it because my ex husband (narc) suggested that i take my son to a doctor who is an advisor to this group. I thought it sounded pretty scary
    thanks

  37. Thanks so much for responding. I actually stumbled upon this web site because the dr that my ex wanted to use is an advisor for this group! My son has ADHD!
    Why would I want to use this doctor??? do you happen to know anything else about this group?
    thanks

  38. Another question….how do all of you go about your daily lives when you are constantly being bombarded by abuse from these guys?. I have 2 children and need to find a new job. But the ex keeps filing motions against me that aren’t true, dragging me into court, trying to get full custody etc….it is truly exhausting! he is married why does he keep bugging ME?