Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Negotiating with a narcissist over Christmas(32 Posts)
Anyone with experience of Narcs: I would welcome advice negotiating with my very narcissistic ex husband (NPD) about Christmas arrangements.
I left him 18 months ago, and during that time he abandoned our children, and our business, fled all financial responsibility, had a 'breakdown' and now lives with his mother. (I posted on here a few times).
Now I live securely with a new partner, his children and my children. We all get on great and I am slowly rebuilding a strong home for my kids.
I want to enjoy a happy Christmas in my new setup. I have had an enormously difficult year as he left teetering in bankruptcy.
My ex does not see the children regularly - maybe once a term - he says its because of the distance of a 5 hour drive.
He is not working, not receiving maintenance and doesn't make any financial contributions.
He is not involved in my children's lives - he calls irregularly every couple of weeks for 5 minutes. But now my ex wants the children the whole Christmas period, from the 23-27th.
He didn't spend it with them last year as he was living in squalor and the house was unfit for them to visit.
He is claiming I 'had them last year' and that this year he's booked a meal with his mother.
I have said that I will drive part of the way on Boxing Day and then the children can spend the week after with them both.
I think this is reasonable - and that the 26th is still special enough to have 'second' Christmas and spend time with their grandma.
I feel that I really want to stand my ground, as he really wants them on the 25th. I think he does not deserve any special dispensations, or has any right to make any such claims.
I think these requests are once again all about what he wants, when it suits him - as usual. He's trying to make me feel bad and inconvenient saying his mother is looking forward to it and the meal is already booked.
Help please... AIBU?
Stand firm. His chances of getting this into court by Christmas are pretty small.
How old are your kids? What do they want?
They're 9 and 7. They are happy to have the family Christmas and then go up and see him.
He wouldn't go to court as he is petrified of prison following stupid financial things he did.
Are you divorced and is there a Court Order?
Did he have a breakdown or not?
It isn't necessarily a special dispensation to have them at Christmas. It is fairly normal to have alternative Christmas.
I would stick to your plans, and suggest to him that there could be a different arrangement next year, if he is reliable and the kids are happy with it.
Yes, alternating or shared Christmasses are a common arrangement, but not where the dad is such a tourist in their lives.
Tell him to fuck off. He isn't in a place to give orders.
Great that you're happy. I think you're being too generous. Are your DCs happy to go with this virtual stranger for such a long time?
Agree with MrsBert. People alternate when they both do the parenting. He doesn't get to let you do all the work all year then just grab the nice bits. Stand firm. Your children will be happier with you. Have a lovely Xmas. You are being very generous anyway.
He hardly sees them, I’ve no idea why you’d think of sending them at all He’s got no money, how’s he going to feed them for a week or pay for heating ?
I think you’d be crazy to send them without a court order. After all this time they probably hardly know him.
Why you should you spend Christmas day without your children when you do all the work of raising them and he does bugger all?
Enjoy your Christmas with your kids.
I’ve no real experience of sharing children but I can’t beli it’s good to disrupt their settled life to indulge an absent parent who contributes so little. I’d tell him to start visiting regularly by coming to you to take them out for the day and build it up from there. Maybe they could spend part of next Christmas with him, if he’s shown himself to be a more effective father.
What MrsBert said. If he agrees regular contact arrangements and sticks to them and the DCs benefit from them, that might be a basis to discuss Christmas 2018.
What's best for your children?
I reckon its staying with the one parent who is there for them and having a lovely time with the other people now in their lives. They will probably have a very miserable time with him.
Its a no.
I feel exactly that - he is swooping in for the Christmas fun and not contributing at any other time. Hence why I am not feeling generously disposed.
I agree, with normal parenting, etc, of course - ensure everything is fair, do a Christmas Day handover, or year on, year off.
However, if we split the 25th, my kids would have to spend 5 hours in a car. I think its a fair compromise, given the circumstances, to go for the Boxing Day. Am willing to get up super early so they can have a quick drive and be at their nan's to re-do Christmas all over again.
I am learning to set boundaries and still new to all this. I still feel 'mean', when in reality his behaviour actually sucks
My exH is a N too. We had a custody and visitation arrangement where the DCs could stick a pin in a calendar and know where they would be that day. It was a complex arrangement and exH admitted he only wanted visitation because he was entitled to it.
For Christmas, the DCs usually got two weeks off school. The arrangement was that I had them for the first half and he had them for the second half. However, for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day the arrangement was that he picked them up on the morning of Christmas Eve and had them until 6 pm. Then I had them for the whole of that night, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day Eve no matter where the halfway mark fell.
I felt confident having such a detailed and court ordered agreement. My confidence was completely unwarranted. Almost every year, exH kicked up a stink about who should have the DCs and when. One memorable year he wanted to take the three still under 18 nine hours by car to his mother's house because she had suggested it. They would have left on Boxing Day, leaving me with laundry and packing for three teenage girls to accomplish on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and he was incensed when I told him to tell his mother where she could shove her bright idea.
I guess my point is, stand your ground. You have no court ordered agreement, I gather, and he has effectively abandoned the family. He can't just snap his fingers and expect you to jump to obey.
If I were you I would suggest instead of letting them go anywhere overnight with him, that he should take them for a day out somewhere they would enjoy, close to where you live.
Ns can be unpredictable and it is not unheard of to find children kept for longer than arranged after overnight stays.
I think you’re bringing by amazingly generous. I’d say no. If he wants to step up and be an actual parent next year then you will SHARE next Christmas. He’s done nothing for them this year so he doesn’t get to swoop in and be Mr Christmas Disney Dad and then piss off again.
I’m actually remarkably irritated on your behalf!
IMO it wouldn’t be in the DCs’ best interests to stay with him for christmas, nor to spend a whole week with him.
My XP asks for my DD every year for Xmas. Every year the answer is no.
I do all of the rubbish, boring admin jobs, day in day out care and everything else - and he spends one evening a week with her (sometimes less as per his request) doing Disney dad rubbish. I get Christmas, every visit they have together is like xmas anyway.
Be careful that he doesn’t taint your own celebration, whether he gets to see the kids or not. An N would take that as a small victory.
Oh thank God for making me feel sane.
So relieved to read your replies.
Thanks Corlan and TheNoseyProject!
They do love their dad, because he's the classic 'good time' father, although they have been ambivalent and upset with him over the past year.
His mother is comfortably off and he lives with her, so they will be properly cared for, with lavish gifts and indulgent takeaways.
As Corlan said, I do all the child rearing, and work full time, and pay for everything.
I absolutely feel this is classic narcissistic 'finger snapping' and he's already trying on the emotional blackmail with 'my mum is looking forward to it' and he's 'already booked the meal'.
Well, suggest he starts paying maintenance (even if he isn't earning, he will probably be on benefits so I think it's £7 a week?).
And once that's established, tell him you'll move on to regular contact. Agree a time for regular phone calls or skypes, so the children get to know him again. Then he can work out how he's going to get to you (bus is usually cheapest, travelodge deals for over nights) in order to take them out for a day.
And once that's a regular thing, and he's proved himself a trustworthy member of their lives, then you can start talking about sharing next Christmas.
But really, the way you've described him - why are you considering letting him have care of your children for a week? I don't think that's a great idea for them.
Ah x-posted. But still - if he can pay for a meal, he can pay maintenance, and come to visit his kids.
I think the response to "my mum is looking forward to it" is "aww, shame you didn't consider her feelings before telling her this was happening"
It wouldn't be in the dc interests to spend Xmas with someone they barely know.
So stand your ground imo.
My ex is a nasty narc and my tip is go no contact
Anyway there is no negotiation with them you just say no or yes or tell them what will or will not be happening and don't respond to any of his guilt trips. Just ignore and repeat your message.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now »
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.