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support thread for those of us having to 'co-parent' with a narc or very difficult exh

(993 Posts)
besshope Wed 03-Aug-16 07:58:29

Step this way...
May I start of with a great big ROAR of frustration at having spent many years having to co-parent with someone who (after he left me for OW) has gone out of his way to make my life as difficult as possible. I know there are many of us, so here's a space to share frustrations, tips and experiences.

clashofclanswidow Wed 03-Aug-16 08:49:01

Joining. Can't cope with the thought of dealing with this for years but no choice! Few months has already been hard enough...

Lots of information online about narcs etc but not how to actually deal with them appropriately (and win haha)

My ex (left me for OW when pregnant) seemingly delights in telling me how much better his life is now and how he's now fixing everything that caused our breakup basically.

I want to scream at him that I couldn't care less, stop talking like we'll ever be friends, you left me pregnant...but I know that if I do this, he gains satisfaction from knowing that him talking to me that way bothers me.

It genuinely doesn't, I couldn't care what he's doing now but to say that to a narc would probably ensure he ends up telling me more about his new life, not less!

Next time he goes on about himself, my plan is to tell him I'm too busy to stay for idle chit-chat...

Why can't they just keep it about the children?!

bibliomania Wed 03-Aug-16 12:39:47

I recently said on another thread that it would be good to have a support thread on this subject, so I'm climbing aboard.

I'm due to go on holiday with dd and he's been threatening to stop it somehow. He doesn't get to go on holiday with her (contact is limited through court order) so it's not "fair" that I get to go on holiday with her, apparently. He'd genuinely prefer her to have no holiday at all. I've asked a friend to wave us off at the train station in the hopes that this will inhibit him from trying to physically stop us getting on the train - he doesn't know which one we're taking, but if he sees us with bags, he'll guess.

Why can't they just keep it about the children?!
In fairness, my exH is about the dc rather than about me, but it's still awful. In his view, I have breached his ownership rights to dc and Must Pay.

Natsku Wed 03-Aug-16 12:48:57

Oo can I join? Pretty sure my ex is a narc (along with a whole host of other mental health issues) and Co-Parenting with him these last few years has been hell but thankfully his contact is limited now.

I am supposed to be taking DD abroad soon (family crisis rather than holiday) and I'm very afraid he will try and stop me. He tried (and succeeded for half a year) to stop me getting treatment for DD after a traumatic experience because "all the doctors are against him"

onwego Wed 03-Aug-16 12:58:26

What a great idea for a thread. I hope it can stay safe and isn't hijacked as I've seen happen on mn before. This isn't about stopping fathers from seeing their children, but a gentle place to understand and support these incredibly tricky relationships.

Bibliomania, you worded it perfectly. Despite my ex having an affair when I was pregnant and treating me appallingly, I have destroyed his family and Must Pay.

I've been managing him/this for 8 years, another 10 to go. But I had a realization recently which sounds very obvious but wasn't to me - he was never reasonable or considered how I felt when we were together, so why have I been exasperated, frustrated and on my knees with his bullying behaviour, expecting somehow that when it comes to our ds it would be different?

He loves our son very much and thankfully they now have a good relationship, but he is still dogmatic, aggressive and behaves appallingly towards me around twice a year. It feels like I live a parallel life sometimes when it comes to him.

I'm slowly forgiving myself for what I see as my complete stupidity for having a child with him in the first place. And that feels quite cathartic to write. Not that I don't adore my son, I do absolutely, utterly and with the whole of my heart. I just wish I'd had years of psychotherapy BEFORE I got pregnant!

DrudgeDread Wed 03-Aug-16 13:26:38

I'd like to join please. I'm not sure if my ex is a narc as such or just a despicable controlling arse.

We got together when I was 18 and he was almost 30 and I was just too naive to see what he was.

He controlled me in so many ways over the years. Abuse was financial, coercive control and occasionally physical and sexual.

Even after we split he point blank refused to move out and we shared a home for 8 more years. With me still modifying my behaviour to keep the peace.

He has never wanted to be a parent, prefers to be a friend so all the difficult parenting decisions and situations have always been down to me. I brought up his other children from a previous marriage from the age of 18 and he was the same with them. It is now a horrible situation where they all side against me. Although they all say they appreciate everything I have done for them when we are on a one on one.

My ex comes across as the worlds nicest bloke and while I am very private he has made it his life's mission to tell all and sundry how bad, manipulative, controlling and cheating I am!

I am two months out now. I couldn't cope any longer after finding messages between him and his daughter about me. I realised then that he had his ducks in a row and fully intended leaving me with nothing when our youngest was old enough.

I am so sad at the damage this relationship has done to my kids. I am mid 40s and have nothing and I am probably going to lose my home. But most of all I am sad that no one has ever had my back. Quite the opposite and now he still intends to destroy me in any way he can. I'm so alone in this battle and have no fight left.

Sorry for the long post. It's so sad that so many of us are going through similar but hopefully we can support each other on this thread. Thanks OP.

besshope Wed 03-Aug-16 13:30:46

welcome to everyone so far brew bibliomania I remember you from the previous thread where we thought about setting this up - I can't remember the name of the OP on that thread (or the name of it) but I hope she'll be along too. It beggars belief that someone would deny their dc a holiday it sounds stressful to deal with it.
clashofclans I find sticking to email is best so as not to get drawn into conversations. It did take me a while to get to that, of having been hoovered in and spat back out
natsku sorry to hear you have a family crisis to contend with and I hope you get to make your trip
onwego we share a lot in common, same sort of time frames (and I mentally have a big calendar crossing off how many more years of this crap I need to deal with) and I had a lot of psychotherapy after having the dcs. I found my exh got worse after the dcs though as it took the attention off him (his words)

Like you say, it's just knowing people understand the complexities and strain really that having to manage this type of situation causes, because the dc is stuck in the middle of it all and the priority is trying to navigate them safely out the other side with their own self esteem and emotional compass intact. It's a challenge. I find summer holidays and christmas, where there's a deviation from routine, far more stressful times. My exh sees it as his 'entitlement' to see dcs, even though he's not especially nice to them and doesn't make them feel especially wanted when he does have them confused

besshope Wed 03-Aug-16 13:35:07

Xpost drudgedread (love the name)
sorry to hear you are going through this. I think it can take ages to see the extent of the abuse, I'm starting to realise things years later about how easily I got alienated from a lot of my friends for example. When you're young and naive it can be hard to see it, and also if you come from an abusive background yourself (I did) you don't know any different. I feel exactly the same as you, that no-one has ever had my back. Like you say, not only that but someone is actively going out of their way to be destructive towards you when you are already suffering. As Winston Churchill said, when you're going through hell keep going. flowers

bibliomania Wed 03-Aug-16 13:56:47

Thanks for starting the thread, bess.

I'm slowly forgiving myself for what I see as my complete stupidity for having a child with him in the first place. With you on that one, onwego (although my parents forgiving me might be a different matter). If you met me, you'd probably think I'm Mrs Sensible and wouldn't get swept off my feet by Mr Wrong, but I totally was.

Sympathies to all. I also hope this can be a supportive thread. I need to vent sometimes, but underneath it, I'm not even all that angry with my ex - I feel sad that he has is pretty much trapped in a certain world-view, because it's his only sense of security in the world. I don't know how much freedom he has to really make different choices.

But he is not my responsibility, dd is, and I can't let pity for him distract me from protecting her.

DrudgeDread Wed 03-Aug-16 13:59:20

Thanks Besshope. flowers for you too.
Yes my childhood was abusive and neglectful too. I do think it skews boundaries and means that we don't actually know any different.
If I'm honest I realised many years ago that this was a destructive relationship but I had a child by then and felt that I needed to keep the family together and ex made me feel I wouldn't cope alone. The truth being I actually coped alone for the whole of our time together. Supporting his career and being the best mum I could in the circumstances.

I hope that anyone who is at the beginning of a relationship like the ones mentioned on this thread will recognise that they could be one of us in a few years time and get out now before their lives are inextricably enmeshed forever. It will not sort itself out. It will not be OK and it will never get better until you remove yourself.

donners312 Wed 03-Aug-16 14:10:40

Jumping on too - hello everyone.

Still going through hell with my ex!

I had the experience like some pp of my ex trying to stop me taking our children abroad on holiday. I got a court order so i don't have to ask him again but with hindsight I would ask him to take out an injunction to stop me if i had to do it again (I did ask but he refused as didn't want to pay the court costs) but basically the main thing to know is that no court would refuse a child the right to go on holiday.

onwego Wed 03-Aug-16 14:27:42

Drudge, I really feel for you. It sounds like a truly awful 8 years. By the skin of my teeth go I, and had my circs been slightly different, I wouldn't have been able to get away. I hope you're getting a small taste of freedom now, although without a doubt, you're just setting out on that road. Sending you support and a hell of a lot of strength your way.

I was emotionally neglected as a child and for as long as I can remember, my parents didn't know how to take care of my emotional needs. It meant that I felt completely at home in a relationship where nothing was about me, and instead focused entirely on him, his needs and his moods. Not his fault, not mine and not my parents, but what a mess. I'm determined to break this cycle and have made progress.

Natsku Wed 03-Aug-16 14:48:21

I feel sad for my ex too bibliomania I can understand why he is messed up - lost his mum as a teenager and seems to still need a mum figure to look after him, and of course its not his fault he has mental health issues but its up to him to keep on treatment and I can't save him everytime he goes off his meds. Not my responsibility anymore. But its DD who misses out as when he's off his meds he's not capable of looking after her. I will seek sole custody after our visitation case closes.

DrudgeDread Wed 03-Aug-16 15:20:31

Thanks onwego it's good to hear that you are successfully breaking the cycle. I'm very cross with myself for not doing it sooner but I'm on the right path now I think.

What is it with all these men begrudging their child a holiday?

Can I ask those of you with teenagers, if you have been through your ex trying to get your child to live with them? I don't know how to handle this and I think I have made the situation worse.

My ex works odd nights away and we live rurally so my son (almost 15) would be alone during these times if he did live him. Coupled with his intention of remaining a friend rather than a father I really don't think it would be a good environment for my son during GCSE years. It is however the only way that my son is likely to be able to live in the family home.
I'm torn because at his age I can't really insist on him living with me. I know his dad doesn't really want the responsibility. He wants to twist the knife, keep the family home and not pay any maintenance.
I also think he would move his heroin addict daughter in. She is clean but on methadone and drinks vodka all the time she is awake. Ex shares a bed with her because she needs cuddles (she is 30). There are so many reasons that I don't want my boy in that world but how do I stop it happening. Ex has suddenly become fun dad and I'm the one still reminding ds about homework, showers and picking up after himself. I have no money and ex is solvent. I can't compete can I?

Sorry I feel like I'm bringing the thread down I should probably start a self pity thread instead grin

FoofFighter Wed 03-Aug-16 15:28:22

checking in sad

besshope Wed 03-Aug-16 17:09:39

drudgedread that sounds like a nightmare situation. You need to keep your boy with you and out of that crazy environment if you can. Are you able to get any legal advice or see CAB? Or maybe start a thread about it on here in case you can get advice from any people who aren't reading this thread? It sounds like you really need some support as that's such a difficult situation to deal with flowers

ooharmehearties Wed 03-Aug-16 17:30:15

Checking in too. So sorry so many of us are going through it.
I've learned you can't co parent with a narc, just parallel parent. I also have found the grey rock method useful, where you are so boring and neutral and uninteresting that it is no sport anymore.

FreeFromHarm Wed 03-Aug-16 18:00:40

Dread...He is a Narc....Can I join please, escaped xnarc....NC with DC ( hope I can stay here )
into 3rd year of Divorce... He has told so many lies , apparently...I left him for another man !!
left due to domestic and sexual assault !!
moved ow into marital home which is for sale ....
He is a business man, nice car ( not his) sweetness and charm to the outside world..yet all over old sites...ow does not have a bloody clue ( she is 1 of 7 he has had since we were hounded out of our home! )

besshope Wed 03-Aug-16 18:05:00

thanks ooharmearties I hadn't heard of grey rock before but have googled it and it's very helpful. It's a useful picture to have in mind. I agree about parallel parenting. That cuts out a lot of conflict.

besshope Wed 03-Aug-16 18:07:21

Welcome freefromharm You are well out of there that's for sure!

FreeFromHarm Wed 03-Aug-16 18:11:38

Thank you besshope, yes we are, hoping once the house is dealt with , we can move on with our lives :O)

Tearsoffrustration Wed 03-Aug-16 18:47:38

Difficult ex here - still manages to make me feel like the unreasonable one even though everyone else tells me to stand up to him more - it's hard when there's been years of being put down & he knows exactly how to get to you

Claraoswald36 Wed 03-Aug-16 20:50:56

Joining :-)
Been divorced 4 years but still having issues with exh. Things go up and down but essentially it's exh first, exh 2nd and if there's anything left over its awarded to exh.
Only salvation is how much family and friends laugh at him and call him Gaston - as in the character in Beauty and the Beast!

greencarbluecar Wed 03-Aug-16 21:05:15

Can I join in too please?

I'm a few months post-escape and I'm also one who destroyed his nice little set up (by leaving after years of abuse, still working some of it out now) and Must Pay.

Although it's cleverly subtle I can see exactly what he's doing, and often hear how it's typical abuser behaviour, but no practical tips on how to deal with it. Those around me think I should stand up to him more. As PP said, not that easy, and especially when you know that means the Must Pay just gets worse.

Hurtandconfused2016 Wed 03-Aug-16 22:13:52

I'm here waves

My ex is so bloody frustrating everything has to be on his terms. Seeing new baby at his parents only. Reducing his days with ds because it was inconvenient. Not there for emergency childcare as he has other obligations (the ow)
Can't afford to reply to lawyers letters but refuses to come to mediation. So now hasn't seen baby for 4 months and son for 3 months!
But yet it's all my fault that he isn't seeing them.

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