Posted in Uncategorized

Fire and Pestilence

Right now I am…..livid…

I got a message today on the parenting app from CJ. Apparently the PHP therapist had called him instead of me, and told him that Fay was still having suicidal thoughts. The therapist recommended removing any sharp objects or items she could hang herself with and to not leave her by herself over the weekend. He said since me and him are the only ones she confides in, it had to be me or him who was with her over the weekend.

I responded to him, asking if the therapist had mentioned attempting to contact me, because I hadn’t recieved any calls, and I would double check to make sure they had the correct contact information.

He came back with, “They have contacted me, I dont know if they tried to contact you. I wanted to add that in this situation she probably shouldnt be left with her grandma (his mom) as her temper flares up and I think there’s a higher chance of her doing something.”

I’m not disagreeing that Fay gets angry and frustrated with her grandmother. That’s a certainty. Her grandmother is an immigrant (language can sometimes be an issue), raised old school, and is the most hovering helicopter grandparent in the world. Fay gets frustrated and irritable easily. So yes, they both get angry and feed off each other. But….that’s not depression. Rage and depression are two different things. And if CJ had spent even half a second parenting Fay over the last ten years he would know that when she’s angry or in a rage, she does not want to hurt herself. Destroy things? Yup. Kick walls and doors? Seen that. Scream horrible things at us for hours? *shrug* I’ve been there. But hurt herself? No. She only wants to do that when she’s sad, lonely, or overwhelmed with anxiety.

I called Fay and asked her about what she was feeling at the PHP. She said she’s been feeling really overwhelmed with the other kids there asking a lot of questions about her and why she’s there. She said it wasn’t suicidal thoughts, but rather NSSI (non-suicidal self-injury) thoughts. Self-harming and suicidal thoughts are on the same spectrum, but still very different. I talked to her about making sure to voice if she needed a break from the other kids and that its ok to tell them she’s feeling overwhelmed. We talked about what coping skills she used to keep herself safe (drawing) and I asked if she was still feeling that way or if it passed. She said it had passed and she was feeling ok now. Of course, I also took steps to make sure she’s safe while I’m at work, I enlisted her grandma (CJ’s mom), my boyfriend Abe, and my own mom to be at the house whenever I’m gone. Multiple adults, multiple eyes, plenty of love and attention for Fay. All good things.

None of this is why I’m angry. It’s annoying that CJ presumes to tell me what I need to do for our daughter, that he somehow thinks we’re on the same level in parenting skills and emotional closeness with Fay. It disgusts me that he kinda tossed his own mom under the bus when she’s the person that primarily cares for the children when they are with him for visitation. But no….I’m not angry…yet

So, me and Fay chat a bit about her PHP, and then she says. “I tattled on dad today.” I was confused. CJ’s a pretty shitty dad, but I didnt know of anything that he’s done that’s tattle-worthy. “Uuuuh, what did dad do?” She paused and said, “You know, about the me not being worth caring about thing.”

Excuse me?…….

He said what now?

“Dad said I wasnt worth caring about and nobody cares about me.” She said it so matter of factly. Like, hey, dad told me the sun comes up in the morning. My heart broke for her. This young woman who has had so many struggles because of her disorders. So many lost friendships, risky mistakes, and bullying from her peers. CJ knows that Fay had kids at her last school tell her she should die, that she was worthless, that nobody loved her or cared about. And he tells her that?

I actually cried, right on the phone with her. I told her I was sorry he had said that. And she told me, “Its ok mom, it’s not your fault.” I told her that her dad was wrong to say that to her, his brain is sick and that she should ignore the mean things he says because they arent true. I told her I love her so so much, and I care.

I texted Abe before I called Fay and told him not to leave her alone at all tonight. He’s been with me through every step of her treatment, so he knew what was up. Without even knowing about our conversation he told Fay, “We’re hanging out tonight buddy!” And when she asked why, he told her “Because I care. I want you safe and happy.”

I find it insane that the two “parents” in her life that actually care and are there for her the most are me and Abe. Her two non-biological parents. God, she got the short end of the stick on bio parents.

Her bio mom, Karen, was bad enough. But CJ, being the parent who was there and witnessed everything Fay has gone through, and still treats her like crap and says some messed up bullshit like that….

I feel overflowing anger and hatred towards him right now. I haven’t said anything or responded to his message in the parenting app because I dont think I have the capacity right now to be as cordial or polite as I’m expected to be by the courts.

I want to strangle him. I want to string him up by his feet and pour boiling oil over him. I want to strap him to a bed and leave him in a dark room with nothing but his empty empty thoughts until he rots. I want God to smite him with fire and pestilence!

Luckily for him, I’m not ruled by my baser urges. Instead, I’m going to tell my daughter as much as I can that I love her and care about her. I’m going to keep getting her the help she needs to manage her disorders. I’m going to continue to be the sane parent who shows up and has her back and loves her unconditionally. And maybe, just maybe one day karma will come take a big bite out of CJ’s ass for me.

Posted in Co-Parenting, Divorce

Let’s Go For A Swim

Sometimes being the sane parent sucks. This stuff isn’t always fun. It’s hard, really really hard. I just got an email from my daughter’s school reminding me I hadn’t filled out the withdrawal forms or turned in her doctor’s note for her absence due to her inpatient treatment. More things that must be taken care of by me.

I feel overwhelmed at times with the responsibility. I work full time, go to school full time, and take care of three kids and my elderly ex MIL as best I can. It’s like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I need to. Fay’s hospitalization and then being placed into PHP is just another boulder on top of the mountain I’m carrying on my shoulders.

I feel jealous sometimes of the freedom my ex has. He has no one to be responsible for besides himself. During the week he has the freedom to come and go as he pleases. There are no calls from the therapist or emails from the school to worry him. No other people to feed, or clothe, or ferry back and forth from school and doctor’s appointments and inpatient behavioral units. Why, isnt life grand with all this glorious glorious freedom? *frolicks in an emerald field of grass while whistling to blue jays*

Is it wrong that at times I feel like the work horse? “Just strap another bag to Tess’s back, she’s a tough old nag, she can handle it.” I know that this is what I signed up for when I made the decision to have children. The late nights, the arguments, the snotty noses and the ten thousand water bottles they leave in my van after taking two drinks and then throwing them on the floor only to fall out as soon as the door is opened, always at school drop off.

But I thought I was signing up to sacrifice with someone. That I was going to have a partner to help me carry all of this. Instead I got CJ. Basically another child I needed to take care of.

And while I’m struggling to keep everything afloat and running, CJ gets to be “fun dad”. Fun dad takes them to go swim in the river on the weekend. Let’s go for a swim guys!! I mean we can totally ignore the fact that if you actually need me to be there for you I will run away faster than a cheetah with its tail on fire, but isnt this fun?!?

I know why he does it. Like all narcissists he has to preserve his self image. Let me take my kids here (because I really want to go) and then I’ll take some pictures of me and the kids and post it on Facebook so everyone can see what a good daddy I am!!

Funny thing, where’s Fay in those pictures? Oh….that’s right…at inpatient treatment. She was calling me, worried that I wasn’t coming because I was running late after work to come see her, all the while CJ was playing in the river. Yes, he did something fun with the kids. No, they shouldnt have to miss out on a good experience with their dad just because their sister had a downward spiral due to her mental illness. But it just irks me.

Honestly a lot of this situation irks me. That he never went to see Fay. That he never called her. That he believes she’s faking in order to get attention. That he never talks to her long enough to see how much she struggles with the depression. No, he doesn’t do a single thing that a real father should do. But he gets to feel like a “good dad” for taking our younger two to go swimming.

*sigh* I know that it’s all fake. I know he doesnt really care about the kids. It’s an ego thing. He’s obsessed with having these perfect Brady Bunch snapshot moments where he’s the good dad taking his kids out for fun and they act like perfect little angel children. Click! Memory complete! And once that moment is over, the real CJ emerges and gets annoyed and frustrated. So I know, logically, that I should just be glad he did something nice for the kids and just let it go. But the fact that I was handling the care and treatment of our oldest (without a single shred of help from him) while he went for a swim on the river, just makes me want to kick him in his face.

But I won’t. I won’t roundhouse kick him in the throat or say a single word about how crappy of a father he’s been to Fay. I’ll just let him keep swimming in the river. Because one day he’s going to look up from the river and realize that he’s swimming alone. Because it takes more than just one enjoyable afternoon to make up for all the lack of love and support he has towards the kids. So just keep swimming CJ….

Posted in Uncategorized

Parenting Skills

My daughter was finally released from inpatient treatment yesterday. I am both relieved and stressed for her to be back home. Relieved because I missed her and I wanted her home again. But stressed because with her comes the side effects of her mental illness and the chaos in the house that results from it all.

The doctors and social worker spoke with me before they agreed to discharge her and essentially let me know that PHP (partial hospitalization program) needed to be Fay’s next step before going back to normal life and school. I understand their reasoning. PHP gives them six weeks of seeing her five days a week, for six hours a day. It gives them the chance to make adjustments to her medicines and observe her behavior. Basically act as a safety net in case she starts to go south again and they can catch her before she gets to the level where she needs to be inpatient again.

Fay has done PHP before. The first time she recieved the diagnosis of DMDD and ADHD and they put her on new meds. The second time she went, they adjusted the meds and she did really well for nearly 2 years.

I, personally, think they originally got her diagnosis wrong. I believe she has early on-set bipolar disorder. And I think the stimulants they had her on for the ADHD affected her badly. The psychiatrist in the inpatient must have thought something similar, as he took her off the stimulant completely. She actually seems to be doing just fine without it. I’m hopeful that perhaps through PHP she can get the correct diagnosis and maybe get on meds that can make things more manageable for her.

I messaged CJ about putting her in PHP, and, as always, he disagrees with my decision. Why? Is it because he went to visit her while she was inpatient and thinks she doesn’t require the level of care PHP provides? Is it because he took such a concerned interest in her well-being that he called and spoke to her psychiatrist, counselor, or social worker? Was it something she said to him during the one phone call they shared in which she called him? Nope. His reasoning is, well she’s been twice before and I don’t think that second time really helped. So, I don’t think she needs to be there.

Or….could it be that after two rounds in PHP he knows how much it’s going to cost ($900) and he doesn’t want to fork over half that money since he thinks his daughter is just doing this “to get more attention”.

Yes, our 13 year old daughter who got so terrified by her own thoughts of wanting and planning to hang herself that she came to me crying and asking me to take her to the hospital so she could get help, is just “pretending” to be depressed and suicidal so she can get more attention from me. *rolls her eyes and mouths “jackass”*

I told him to stuff his opinion where the sun don’t shine because I was going to follow the advice of her doctors. Not the advice of a selfish, loveless, penny-pinching cretin. Ok, I didn’t say exactly that. I very politely told him that I was moving forward with PHP as her doctor advised and that to not do so would be neglectful of Fay. That I wanted to do everything possible to make sure she’s safe and has every resource available to manage her disorders.

His response? “Well I’ve voiced my concerns about this. Whatever you decide to do is up to you and your parenting skills.”

*gasp* Did he really just attempt to malign my parenting skills?? *snort* Bro….you didn’t visit your daughter once while she was inpatient (and you even had a holiday off work to go! No excuses!). Didn’t make a single call to check on her. Didn’t even message me to ask how she was doing. But you think your parenting skills are so high that I’m going to be insulted by your low opinion of me? *melts into a puddle of laughter*

That’s like a high school quarterback trying to tell Peyton Manning how to throw a football. Or a two-bit driving instructor trying to tell Dale Earnhardt Jr how to drive better in NASCAR. It’s a fricking Carnvial Cruise lounge singer telling Beyonce how to hit high notes! Sit down bitch! I got this!

I’m the sane parent here. I’m the parent that actually cares. I’m the one who reads parenting books and books about how to help and support a child with these disorders. I’m the one who goes to every therapy session and works with her therapist closely on skills and behaviors. I’m the one handling school meetings, 504 plans, special education assessments, everything. I’m the one who calmly talks to Fay and is her stability in life. Me. And yet CJ is actually so arrogant as to think I should defer to him on choices about her well-being. Yea….fuck that.

See narcissists will keep pushing on those buttons they know you have. He knows that I want, more than anything, to be a good parent. He used that in the past as a way to blame shift and manipulate me into taking on all the responsibility for the kids. He thinks by throwing out that little parenting skill line that I’ll reconsider. Because if I actually have parenting skills, then Fay doesnt need PHP. I can help her at home or through other means. He thinks that I’ll be so determined to prove that I am a good parent and I do have parenting skills that I’ll just forgo the PHP.

The part he doesnt get is this: I know I’m a good parent. I know I have parenting skills. I’m confident in myself as a mother. And because of that, I don’t feel any need to prove myself to him or anyone else. The only thing I feel the need to do is help my child become safe and stable. To hopefully get her through her adolescence and into adulthood without allowing these disorders to completely derail her future. To have her leave my home as an adult who can manage her disorders and be happy and successful in life. And if that means I have to put up with CJ disparaging my parenting skills than so be it! My daughter is worth more than my ex narc’s good opinion of me.

Posted in Co-Parenting, Divorce

Smoke & Mirrors

It’s been several days since my daughter, Fay, was admitted for inpatient treatment. They’ve taken her off some meds, increased others. She says that she’s feeling better. That she’s finding it helpful to be there, which makes it all worth it. I just want to make sure she’s safe and getting the help she needs.

I’ve gone to visit her every day since she was admitted. Abe has gone with me twice and was absolutely wonderful and watched the kids so I could take my ex mother-in-law (MIL) to visit as well. They only allow two visitors at a time and they have to be over 18. As I predicted, CJ has yet to call or visit Fay. Monday was even a holiday, absolutely no work for him. And yet, he couldn’t be bothered to pick up the phone or drive the hour out to her facility to see her.

My ex MIL told me that she spoke with CJ yesterday. She asked him why he hadn’t been to visit Fay. She basically chastised him with “She’s your daughter! You should be visiting her and taking care of her! Why arent you??” She said he got quiet for several minutes and said nothing. She took that as a sign that he understood he wasn’t acting right and properly felt remorseful. I couldn’t help but roll my metaphorical eyes at that.

This is something family members and loved ones of narcissists do all the time. We give meaning to actions that don’t really have any meaning to the narcissist themselves. There’s any number of reasons for his silence. He didn’t want to deal with a lecture if he told the truth (he just didn’t want to go), he was tired of the conversation and didn’t want to continue to participate, he found a gnarly hangnail he just had to chew off. But none of the reasons have to do with him suddenly gaining insight or empathy or care for anyone other than himself.

We want the narcissist to care. We have a very very difficult time imagining that this person that we love (or in my case loved – past tense) could be so truly awful that they would be indifferent or dismissive of our struggles, needs, and pain. But they are. They are truly that fucking awful. I cannot tell you how many times CJ has been cold and cruel to me and the kids.

Tyler, our son, loves wands. Wizard wands, fairy wands, any type of wand he sees, he has to have. A couple years ago we found him his favorite wand. It had a star on top and lit up. He went everywhere with that wand, he even slept with it. One day he was waving the wand around and hit CJ’s puppy, Boomer, in the eye, accidentally, with the wand. Before even checking if Boomer was injured, CJ rushed over, snatched the wand from Tyler’s hand and threw it against the wall, shattering it into pieces. I hurried into the room when I heard Tyler wailing and asked what happened. CJ had no remorse for destroying his son’s favorite possession. All he cared about was his dog (who was perfectly fine, not injured at all). He just coldly stared at Tyler as big fat tears rolled down his little cheeks and I rocked him back and forth, trying to comfort him. CJ’s mom tried to excuse his behavior. He was “just worried Tyler would hit Boomer again”. She created her own smoke and mirrors to hide what he really was because to admit he was just a cruel asshole would be too much for her.

I, myself, did the same. Often. I remember curling into a ball in our bed, clutching my stomach as I sobbed because CJ had cheated on me again. He was of course tired of talking about it, tired of listening to my pain and just wanted to sleep. I turned over and reached out to him. “You dont have to talk to me. Please. Just hold me. I need you,” I whimpered, barely able to see him through the tears. But I remember so clearly, so vividly, the look he gave me. A sneer of absolute disgust. “I dont want to,” he said before turning his back to me and going to sleep. With me still next to him in the bed, crying my heart out. He slept soundly and peacefully. I excused his behavior. He was just so overwhelmed with guilt that he shut down emotionally and couldn’t comfort me. Because surely this man who loves me could never treat me like that unless there was a plausible reason. I couldn’t see yet that there was a plausible reason. He didn’t give a shit. But I needed the smoke and mirrors to keep staying in the relationship with him. Without it, I would just be an idiot staying in an abusive relationship. *waves* Hi! I’m that idiot.

Smoke and mirrors are done by the narcissist themselves. When they pretend to be something they aren’t and to feel things they don’t. But a lot of times they allow us to do it to ourselves. They know we’re making excuses for them or coming up with reasons why they are the way they are. They’ll roll along with the family of origin issues or “you must’ve had low self esteem” or whatever bullshit gets the other person to keep engaging with them. Because they don’t care whether its blue smoke or red smoke or ten thousand sparkly mirrors, all that matters is you don’t see them. Not clearly. Because if you did, you’d run away as fast as your feet could carry you.

Posted in Co-Parenting, Divorce

Indifference

The last few days have been incredibly difficult. My oldest daughter, Fay, has been hospitalized in an inpatient treatment center for her mental illness. I spent 13 hours in the emergency room waiting for them to find a bed for her in one of the treatment centers in our city.

I felt so incredibly lucky to have my boyfriend, Abe, with me. He was my rock. He got me food, held my hand, refused to leave me as the hours grew longer and longer. He even refused to take turns using the only chair that reclined. He just petted my hair and told me to try to rest because Fay needed me.

They finally found her a bed this morning and she was transported there by ambulance. I did all of the admittance paperwork and gave her a hug before they took her back into then unit. Abe and I picked up the clothes she would need for her stay there (she didnt have anything her size that fit the requirements of the treatment center), went home, and finally got some sleep.

This afternoon we took Fay her clothes and visited with her. She told me she liked the people there. They were nice. That she had cried after I left and she was worried I wouldn’t come visit. Told me she was afraid I would abandon her like her biological mom had. I just hugged her. Told her how much I loved her and I would do everything I could to help her. I tried to make her smile by telling her about the slippers I bought. She loves cats and her slippers had a little cat face and said “Feline Sleepy”, which made her laugh at first and then burst into tears. “You do so much for me mom! I’m so grateful.”

My heart hurts for my baby, for what she suffers because of this mental illness, and for everything she’s had to deal with in her short life. I was fully prepared for my ex to blame me and criticize my parenting for “allowing” her to get to the point she needed to be hospitalized. I was fully ready to defend myself. Even the social worker who spoke with us told me that I was doing literally everything I possibly could, and that even if you do everything perfect you can still end up in our situation.

But when I called CJ this morning to notify him about admitting Fay, I got nothing. He didn’t ask questions, he didn’t blame me. He was just so indifferent to it all. All he said was, “Ok, thanks.” I sent him the parent sheet I had gotten from the treatment center that outlined visitation hours and how to call in and check in on your child. I know he didn’t show up for visitation today, and as far as I know he hasn’t called. Abe and I are planning to visit for the next few days (since I have them off), but I very much doubt CJ will ever show up.

You know, I really don’t care how he treats me. I’m a tough woman and I can handle whatever bullshit he throws at me. But the callousness and coldness he has towards his own children just pisses me off. His daughter needs him, and yet he is just so dismissive and indifferent to her needs and struggles. Abe has shown her more care and concern than her own father has. Every instance where I see just how little he actually cares for his children is another reminder of why I struggled so hard to be free of him. Because both my children and I deserve someone in our lives who truly loves and appreciates us. And he never will.

Posted in Divorce

Silence

It’s been quiet lately. No crazy shenanigans or unreasonable demands. No attempts to reach out to me through email or other phone numbers.

It’s weird, the silence. It gives you this false sense of security that the narc has finally learned his lesson. He’s finally realized he can’t get to you and has slunk off to his dark cave somewhere. You sigh in relief. It’s over now.

Wrong. So very very wrong. I wish I could say that all my issues with my ex were over. We reached some place of higher understanding and are respecting each other’s lives and spaces. *snort* yea…no….

Silence doesn’t mean the narc is done with you. Because to be honest they are never done with you. That’s the most unfortunate part of having been in a relationship with a narcissist, especially one you had kids with. In their minds, you belong to them. Oh you may wander about here and there, but in the end you are their’s. And if they want to, they can pull on those strings and push those buttons and have you under their control again.

And don’t think I’m pulling this from my own delusions. CJ has actually told me this. Back when we still texted, he made a sexual innuendo towards me. I told him to save it for his womens and he said I am his woman. All women belong to him. He said like a king has many subjects who roam about doing other things, they are all under his power and rule, and so every woman is to him. *vomit*

So don’t be surprised when a narc circles back to you. They’re like golden retrievers with squirrels. Their attention is short and eventually they get tired of whatever person they’re using for their supply. Or their person figured out they were a sack of lying cow turds and kicked them to the curb. Suddenly that sweet sweet silence will be broken as they come back to poke at the dead corpse of your “relationship” to see if they can get a few moments of attention before they find their next victim.

So I’ll enjoy the silence while I have it. Much like the calm before the storm.

Posted in Co-Parenting, Divorce

Nitpick

I was married to CJ for 10 years. I can count on my hands the number of times CJ involved himself with our children’s education or well-being without being prompted by myself or his mother. He always knew either she or myself would handle whatever situation came up, so unless we brought it to his attention he just ignored anything having to do with the children.

But not now. Oh no. We get divorced and suddenly the last 10 years of handling doctor appointments and school meetings are completely discounted. I have been demoted from Supermom to Incompetent Idiot.

Fay’s school has a lovely automated system which calls and alerts us any time that she misses even a single class. Which is a very helpful tool, especially if you’re dealing with a child who likes to skip classes. Fay, however, has not skipped a class ever in her entire life. But I still called her phone and asked why she had been marked absent. She had been in the counselor’s office and her teacher marked her absent and forgot to change it. I immediately emailed the counselor to make sure it was taken care of like I always do.

And then my phone vibrates. It was a message on the parenting app. CJ was concerned! He had recieved this nefarious message alerting him to Fay’s absence. Did I know why she missed class, because he was suspicious of her skipping. And clearly my incompetency to parent her meant he must bring it to my attention and ensure it was handled correctly. Since I was in class at the time, I waited until later in the evening to respond. When I got home I found out from his mother that he had called her, demanding to know why Fay had missed class, which she of course had no idea about. He couldn’t wait for me to respond to his questions, he had to micromanage this obviously dangerous situation.

It’s a small thing, a little blip on my radar of stupid things CJ does throughout the week or month. It doesn’t even raise to level of annoying or bothersome in my book. But I’m bringing it up because it’s a very common and real thing that narcissistic co-parents do all the time.

Nitpicking every little stupid thing because they hope that it will eventually annoy you or build you up enough that you finally explode or break down and say something. Yes that little grain of rice seems small and insignificant, but when you have hundreds of them piling up, well, they can tip the scales pretty quickly.

That toothpaste has flouride, and dont you know that causes cancer? Why dont the kids ever wear the shoes I specifically bought for them? Why do I have two weekends in a row, I didnt agree to that! I don’t understand why I have to pay for Timmy’s tutoring, I could do it for free!

Literally every single parenting choice you make will be scrutinized and criticized. You will be talked to like you are the dumbest, most incompetent parent on the planet. Because only the narc could truly parent these children in the way they should be parented. All I can say is, fuck that. Don’t allow someone who has no empathy, compassion, or sanity, make you doubt your ability to be a good parent. You just keep making the best decisions you can and try to be as sane and stable as you can for your kids.

My job as a mom is to provide for my kids everything I think they need and maybe even a little of the things they want. I try to make up for the things they lack in their relationship with their dad, by being there for them in the ways he can’t. I give them as much of my time and attention as possible. I talk to them, empathize with them, and try to guide them. I try to teach them how to love others and be kind. I am not a perfect person or a perfect mother, and I admit that openly to my kids. But I let them know I’m doing my best. And as long as I keep striving to be the best mom I can be for my kids, CJ can just pick away. It doesnt bother me. I don’t owe him an explanation or rationalization for my choices or actions. I have only one explanation: because I’m their mom. Enough said, right?