names have been omitted or changed in this post
Seated in the booth across from my daughter and I, he spoke "How did your leg get burnt?"
She glanced down at her legs in shorts, one leg sporting a significant but now fading burn mark. She spoke, "I got burnt on the exhaust pipe of Daddy's car." She replied.
He looked over at me with a look; his eyes conveying concern, his bearded jaw set. Looking back over at her he leaned forward and spoke "How did that happen exactly?"
She spoke "We were messing with Georgina's bags in the back of the car and Daddy told me to get out of the way! And I had no where to go, I couldn't move!… so I got pushed up against the exhaust pipe. And then my leg got burned." She explained to us referring to her dad's fiancé.
He ever so slightly shook his head and I distinctly caught his lip barely curl in fury.
He was steaming mad and I was too.
"What did your Daddy say when it happened?" He asked her.
"Did you cry?" I asked her.
She nodded with a distressed expression. "Uh huh… I cried. It hurt bad! My leg turned bright red. He told me it was fine! And that he'd take care of it when we got back home. But then he didn't do anything about it!" She wailed.
Silent fury simmered from both of us. I felt rage growing. Angry protective rage beginning to grow inside me and threatening to boil. But I had no idea it could get worse.
She turned to me and spoke "And Mommy… you remember how at my end of school awards program Georgina was looking down at her cell phone the whole time?" She asked.
I nodded "When we went I noticed that. What about it sweet pea?"
Her mouth frowned "After it I asked her why she was on her phone the whole time. Daddy wasn't with us at the time so he didn't hear what she said. But she told me "Because it was boring! And because I don't care!" " My daughter relayed to me with a hurt expression shadowing her face.
Shock ran through me and
I gave her a horrified look.
"WHAT??!! SHE SAID THAT?!! WHO SAYS THAT???!! AND TO A CHILD??!!"
I demanded angrily.
"I was mad! She was rude!"
My daughter exclaimed.
My angry dark eyes specked with green flashed and met his across the table. His expression was one of outrage but he bit his tongue. I knew what he was thinking. That my exes fiancé was an evil witch of a woman. Days later when she wasn't present he'd express just that.
I spoke, "It's interesting how your dad flew to London to go to her daughter's confirmation. Her daughter she's left behind. But she can't even be respectful during your awards ceremony." I reflected. I wrapped my arm around my daughter, hugged her close and spoke "I'm sorry that happened. There is NO EXCUSE for her behavior. Do you understand? She was hateful. Someone who would say something like that is not a kind person. You should have said something to Daddy." I told her even though I figured that advice was a joke.
She shrugged. "He wouldn't care. He's so busy with her he doesn't pay any attention to me. He wouldn't even make sure my leg was okay!" She pointed out incredulously.
I thought back on our Ad Litem leading up to our trial as our divorce wrapped up three years ago. I had tried to make her see the light… that he wasn't fit to have our kids as much as fifty fifty or really at all… but instead my emotions that ran deep with love and worry for my kids may have appeared out of control because I was ***desperately and angrily*** trying to make her see reality… and she had stuck with the recommendation to the court that we share fifty fifty custody. At trial she had conceded that if the judge was to give one parent more time it should be me. Which now was very little consolation considering the damage that was going on now. I wanted to call her up and say "SEE???!! I TOLD YOU!!! IF YOU'D ONLY LISTENED!!!!" But who knew if it'd do any good. My daughter was suffering because the system that was in place to protect her really protected the unfit parent so they could have "fair".
This wasn't about splitting
a pie down the middle…
this was supposed to be about what would
be in our children's best interests.
The family court systems idea of fair was pure BS through and through. The fact her dad is getting "fair" doesn't make my daughter feel better when he's not in tune with her, when he's detached from her and letting her get burnt and more. And that just pertained to our daughter. It didn't even count the alienation he'd orchestrated between our son and I.
Was he really ready to lose her over Georgina? It seemed he already had. Our daughter knew he'd continually made poor choices. She knew he didn't care about her BASED ON HIS ACTIONS toward her. It wasn't rocket science that his continual choice to disregard what she thought, what she felt, what she needed was negatively affecting their relationship and would only serve to push her further and further away from him. But with a narcissistic sociopath they don't care about a real connection… about what you really feel, what you think or what you need. I grew up that way with a narcissistic father. I know how this works. I lived it. But try telling someone connected to the court system that. All a personality disordered individual cares about is control. The child may wish their parent would change for the better… but it's fruitless wishing and hoping on stars. The toxic parent can only focus on keeping the child as a possession and punishing the ex by using the child as a weapon. The child is better off away from the parent… with either very limited time for visitation, supervised visits or no contact at all.
Until the changes that need to take place begin to do so in the family court system we will continue to see examples as those shown above happening in families. And yes, we will continue to speak up, to share our stories, to document and fight the battle until we win the war. These are our children. Our future. Our babies. Our hearts. No matter who we are, mom or dad we love our children. No matter how near or far they are we pray and hope for future reconciliation. No matter how hard it is to keep putting one foot in front of the other we do it because unlike the toxic one we know our children are meant to be seen, heard cherished and loved… not neglected, ignored, dismissed and owned.
www.gracepowerstrength.com - 2016
names have been changed or omitted in this post
Our waitress handed us our menus and took our drink orders… we both ordered water and I asked for a bowl of queso. She nodded, smiled and said she'd be back in a bit to take our orders. It was Sunday night and Chuy's was busy. Brightly painted walls, music playing and chatter from the other patrons gave it a festive atmosphere. My sister browsed her menu and I asked her what she was going to order. What she ordered always looked good.
"I'm going to go with the stacked enchiladas." She said… "What are you getting?"
"I'm getting the quesadilla's" I told her.
After our waitress took our orders she spoke "So how are things? How's the job?' She asked me.
"Things are going good…" I nodded, dipping my chip in the bowl of queso we shared. "The job is going well which is a relief. I think I made the right decision. You know… it just got to be frustrating when I'd show up to work for my shift and then run late leaving everyday. Because Jeanette would be late they would expect me to wait for her to come dragging in. I said something multiple times to my lower level supervisors and nothing was done about it. There were always excuses made for her. I got sick of it."
My sister nodded "Yeah, I can imagine. I hate that… and it wasn't once in a while, right? It was like all the time." She said.
I nodded "Yeah… try everyday for a year and a half. I'm supposed to get off at two thirty for school pick up and she's dragging in at two thirty… clocks in and then hangs out in the break room till two forty five, maybe even two fifty stealing company time and I'm calling her on the intercom to get up there. It wasn't like this was a once in a while thing. I mean, geez…" I trailed off. "I get it if you're having issues, I get it if something is going on… everybody has something that pops up and we need to be understanding. Some things are just out of our control. But this was happening everyday. Every. Day. Then I said something to the supervisors and nothing was done. I managed to get myself to work on time, do my job, do it well and yes, I expected to leave when my shift was done and the next person was supposed to take over. I really don't think that's asking too much." I shook my head.
She sighed and tried to rescue her drowning chip in the queso with another one. "It's ridiculous. All they were doing was enabling her. They continued to let her get away with it. Then if they lose one of their best employees because they are offered something better they shouldn't be surprised if they take it."
The ones who enable are really just as much to blame as the perpetrators themselves. If someone is condoning ill behavior no matter what kind or in what type of setting it not only affects others but it tells the perpetrator that they will not be held accountable for their poor actions.
Positive change is not possible without accountability.
If bad cops are not being
purged from their jobs…
If we turn our heads to the child, adult
or animal being bullied or abused…
If we shut our eyes and ears and
deny that racism is alive and well…
If we allow employees to steal
company time and yet then
screw our customers with high
percentage rates on credit cards…
If people are getting a slap on the wrist
for drinking and driving and killing someone…
If we go vote for someone we know is evil
and then wonder why our country is becoming
more and more corrupt and depraved…
Look in the mirror.
It's called enabling.
Holding their hand makes you a sinner.
The narcissist or sociopath is capable of recruiting multiple enablers to help he or she do the dirty work they need done. Or perhaps they just need someone who kisses the ground they walk on and who will applaud their heinous actions. Regardless… a narcissist or sociopath doesn't have true friends. They have followers, enablers, loose acquaintances, whatever you may call them.
Don't be silent about what is going on. Speak up and speak love and truth. Don't allow yourself to be intimidated by someone who is orchestrating manipulation and pain for others. Don't be an accomplice to them.
6Love takes no pleasure in evil, but rejoices in the truth.
Don't cover for someone else's bad behavior. If someone is choosing bad behavior it's not your job to cover for them. It's also not your job to take on the role of hero or heroine and fix the mess. Whether it's they have a drinking problem, a sexually immoral struggle like pornography, abusing company time, sexual abuse, gross debt, domestic abuse, theft, etc. The consequences for the negative actions are not yours to take on.
Man or woman, the narcissist and sociopath wear masks to lure in their targets. They tell their target what they want to hear, they seduce and charm their way into their hearts. Before long the target is suffering in a bad relationship wondering what on earth happened to the person they thought they knew. The personality disordered are good at snowing others, at making them believe they are the wonderful people they try to present themselves as. Enablers make up their toxic posse… invalidating the targets of the personality disordered and validating the narc or sociopath as one who is in the right. More than likely the narc or sociopath has convinced the enabler that their target is a mean angry person and therefore they are the one is is suffering when in reality the narc's continual punishment and wielding of control is justified in his or her mind.
How do you fall in love?
Harder than a bullet could hit ya?
How do you fall apart?
Faster than a hand to the trigger?
Don't you say, don't say, don't you say it,
Don't say it, one breathe it will just pay it
So shut your mouth
And run me like a river
- Bishop Briggs, River
Yet what is so ironic is very often enablers state they are "Not going to get involved' or "They are remaining neutral", "I don't know what you're talking about", "You must have done something to make him (or her) mad", and "Well, you two are going to have to work it out" when they very well know there is abuse of some kind going on behind closed doors. And yet they do nothing. It takes a strong person to stand up and say "No, were not doing this", "You're not doing this" or "This is going to stop. Now."
"If you are not part
of the solution,
then you are
part of the problem."
But the enabler is a weak spineless co-abuser who sits silently and nods like a trained puppet or seal to the toxic one. Sometimes the enabler can even go one step further and become a "flying monkey" which is one who is used by the narc to carry out their dirty work so their hands stay clean. They may engage in small or large attacks onto the target to help fuel the narc's agenda therefore causing even more chaos, pain and grief.
www.gracepowerstrength.com - 2016
Growing up I saw that my father had his idea of what my mother's hair should look like. He had his idea of what looking feminine meant. To him being a woman meant having long hair. Whenever she would get it cut into a bob or even (gasp) ponder aloud what her hair would look like with a pixie cut… the admonitions would begin… "Leave it alone!", "You're always trying to change it!", "It looks fine!", "I like it long!", etc. He made it very clear. Men had short hair. Women had long hair and there were no and's, if's or but's about it. And don't even get me started on what he thought of red hair… when I dyed my hair red years ago his reaction was "What the heck have you done to yourself?!"
I have no doubt my childhood experiences of always wearing dresses and later marrying someone who constantly voiced his desire for me to wear dresses despite my clear and vocal disinterest in wearing them had something to do with refusing to… hence, heated arguments that ensued. Pants are easy… you slip 'em on and go. You can run in pants, you don't have to worry how you're sitting in pants and there's never anxiety that a gust of wind is gonna blow your pants up exposing your britches. I bristled at his Stepford-wife-like idea of how I should dress and dismissed dresses as an archaic article of clothing. But regardless of what we each think about women's hair or clothing one thing is for sure… a narcissist is very much a stickler about hair. It's rare for little girls even in today's modern world to see examples of females in magazines donning pixie cuts.
As Jada Pinket once said…
"The question why I would LET Willow cut her hair. First the LET must be challenged. This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don't belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power or self determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are HER domain. Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair. It's also a statement that claims that even little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother's deepest insecurities, hopes and desires. Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be."
It's so incredibly important that we teach our daughters from a very young age that their hair belongs to them. That they have the personal right to choose a haircut, style, etc that they like and that they don't have to adhere to any rules or limitations set upon them by others… whether it be a narc parent or spouse. Girls need to grow up feeling self-empowered and knowing that they are the daughter of a King… that their beauty is evident to Him, that He created them from the tips of their toes to the hairs on their head… and that no one else has the right to dictate how they should wear their hair or even the clothes they don. One of the first warning signs that someone is dating a personality disordered individual is their chronic suggestions of how they could change their hair, clothes, makeup, etc. A narcissist will often make "harmless" suggestions of how you can change your hair or clothing with the purpose of trying to see if you will acquiesce to their suggestions… if you do and thereby show codependent traits they know they have hooked someone who will likely be compliant in other areas as well.
Why do they care so much?
Image is very important to the narcissist.
Obviously some parents instill rules about not allowing their children to get their ears pierced until a certain age, or maybe some parents veto shoes with heels until the later years… but children benefit from being able to make some decisions… gaining confidence and expressing personal style is important for their self-growth. Trying to disengage from their parents and be an individual is a big step for a child… they are finding their own style to distinguish themselves from others and that's not necessarily a bad thing… whether it's hair, accessories or clothes every decision may turn into a fight with a narc parent.
names have been omitted in this post
"I want to get my hair cut before Daddy's wedding." My daughter told me as she scrolled Pinterest for shoulder length and bob length hair cuts.
"Yeah? What are you thinking you want?" I asked her, glancing over at the haircuts on the iPad's screen.
A sigh ensued. "I really want something like this…" She pointed on the screen.
I took a look and nodded "That's cute."
"Yeah… I mean, it's my hair… I just know that Daddy won't like it. He likes my hair really long. He always tells me that. " She informed me.
I shrugged "Well… that's what he likes. It's your hair. You should get it cut how you want." I told her.
I watched her as she studied the photo a few seconds, then she spoke,
"Yep… that's what I want to do. I'm getting it cut like this." She declared.
Nothing is ever as it seems.
Regarding a narcissist no truer statement has ever been uttered.
Until you pull back the curtain and see the truth.
During my divorce and even post divorce my ex continually stated:
"If you will let the children bring the cell phone I've provided them to your house they can use it there to call me. And when they return to me you can call them on it to catch up with them."
1.) I wasn't in favor of them having their own phone.
2.) I wasn't having a phone in my home that he'd purchased.
(I didn't trust him so why would I allow a device he could put who knows what on into my home? This is a man who can build a computer from scratch, who developed vehicle tracking devices and once hacked a cell providers website. When I filed for divorce I immediately went out and bought a new iPhone to replace the one he'd just purchased for me).
3.) Why couldn't he just call me on my phone when he wished to speak to the children? I didn't answer the phone. We had zero contact; I'd merely hand the phone to them to speak to him.
So what was the problem?
The problem was he wasn't getting his way.
Hence, a hissy fit. And a continual one at that.
He was angry so he then decided to block me
on our daughter's cell phone he'd bought her.
With a narcissist they are always right and you are always wrong. Rational explaining doesn't work with them. They can't hear you, don't want to and never will. They label you as the irrational, neurotic one while everything they are doing resembles crazy.
The cell phone is a narcissist's favorite weapon of choice. It's their go-to and their ability to use it effectively can make you look like the one who is the issue.
Evening of June 21, 2016
names have been omitted or changed in this post
Missed FaceTime call from daughter.
FaceTime her but no answer.
I FaceTime her again and video comes on but it shows her struggling to hold her cell phone as her father fights to take it from her. I can hear her saying: "STOP IT! GIVE ME THE PHONE! STOP IT!!! GIVE IT TO ME!!!!"
He looks down and to his surprise realizes the video is on (he didn't know that she had figured out how to unblock me on it because he had been blocking my calls and texts) and lets go of the phone "Okay" He says and leaves her bedroom.
Sobbing and coughing from my daughter and her face appears on the screen in her dark room.
"Why are you crying?" My mother asks her.
"I miss you!" She cries.
"I miss you too… but why are you crying?" I ask.
'What's going on over there?" My mother asks her.
"I miss you!!!" She sobs, inconsolable.
"What's the matter sweet pea? I missed your call earlier, tried calling you back but didn't get through."
More sobbing and coughing.
"What have you been up to?" I ask her.
"Nothing!" She exclaims through tears.
"Are you having fun?" My mother asks her.
"You've been over there a little over a week… what have you been up to?" I ask.
"I don't wanna be over here!" She cries.
"Have you talked to Daddy about your feelings?" I ask her.
She shakes her head no and says "Because they are out on the balcony… I haven't got a chance."
"Was there a problem today? Or has there been a problem? What is going on? I haven't talked to you since you got to his house. Why would he take the phone from you? You were yelling for him to give it back."
"I don't know…" She cried.
"Well, what have you been up to?" I ask her.
"It's been boring over here!" She exclaims.
"Did you go to the country club? Have you been swimming?" I ask her.
We hear the dinging of the french doors opening and her father coming back inside the house from being outside on the deck with Georgina.
She whispers "Wait…" and there's silence.
We hear his footsteps coming into her bedroom and him asking in a "concerned" tone "What happened?" Like he didn't know why she was upset. Like he didn't know why she was crying. Like he didn't try to take the phone from her. Like she was upset because of something I'd said or done.
"No! Go away!!!" She yells at him.
"Okay…" He replies in an overly breezy tone and walks out.
10 TIPS FOR PARENTS REGARDING CELL PHONES:
1. You don't have to accept a cell phone, iPad, etc from your ex into your home.
2. You don't have to answer the phone when your ex calls to speak to your child. You can merely hand your child the phone to talk. Same with Skype calls… you don't have to be present for the call.
3. You can record the calls to transcript them for court documentation.
4. You can request scheduled phone times through the court system. Follow it.
5. Part of your job as a parent is to teach your child boundaries (because we know a personality disordered parent isn't capable and won't) and part of that is recognizing that the children have scheduled times to speak with each of their parents and that an open calling policy is a breeding ground for the narc to phone obsessively and purposely interrupt time together.
6. If you have supervised visits the supervisor should not have access to the children's cell phone if provided one.
7. If the children's cell phone is taken from them and given to the narc's attorney you have the right to file a police report and have it returned.
8. It is always best to have a tracking app put on your children's cell phone if you choose to provide them one.
9. If your child is using the narcs phone and has access to adult texts, nude photos, etc report it to police. It's a crime for children to be exposed to porn. If possible take screen shots and email them to yourself and print them for court. Or take the sim card. File a police report and use it in court.
10. Be careful what you text your child. Keep it light and affectionate. Your ex may have an app that sends every text you and your child exchange to his/her computer.
www.gracepowerstrength.com - 2016
names have been omitted in this post
I stood at the dark kitchen counter top cutting up a tomato for my salad I was making for dinner. Nearby was a shallow bowl filled with romaine lettuce, shredded cheese, carrots, crumbled egg and seasoned croutons. Olive oil and parmesan cheese stood ready and I began adding the tomato to my meal. My mother was at her end of the counter preparing pork loin she'd bought on sale. In the adjoining den the tv softly played the evening news and weather segment. My mother spoke, "So how was your night last night?" She asked referring to the guy I had gone to dinner and a movie with. Our dinner had run later than predicted with our long winded conversation, hence catching a late movie.
"It was good, we had a great time." I told her as I sprinkled parmesan cheese on my salad. When I was a kid I had referred to it as "sprinkle cheese". I spoke, "Dinner ran later than we thought it would, we got so caught up in our conversation. I was telling him about the golf cart situation." I told her pointedly. She glanced over at me and nodded. My daughter had informed me that at her dad's house her brother had been purchased a golf cart to drive. When I had asked her if he was being supervised she shook her head. "Nope. Daddy just lets him loose to drive around the neighborhood and to the country club and back. He goes up to the club to just hang out."
"Yeah… what did he think about all that?" She asked.
I grimaced "He thought it was ridiculous. He said there's clearly no supervision over there… " I trailed off… "I hate how it's all turned out with him." I commented, referring to my son. "Their neighbors he sees daily and have kinda taken him under their wing… the wife came into work the other day to do a return and I had to check her drivers license … seeing the address I realized who she was. I introduced myself. She seemed nice… I hadn't met her before. We had a nice chat about him and I told her I missed him and hoped he was doing well. She said he is at their house pretty much daily, either helping out, playing with the dog, boating, etc. " I paused, reflecting on her words as I took my glass of ice water to the table. "She said he's very well mannered, sweet and helpful… that I did a good job."
My mother spoke, "Perhaps they have seen enough to know what's really going on and how it's affected your relationship with him." She remarked pointedly. "Maybe he's shared enough with them being over there that they realize the truth."
I shrugged "Maybe… who knows. But I was glad to meet her. Maybe their involvement will help him. From what I can gather thus far he's better off with them than at his dad's for sure based on the alienating behaviors that have gone on."
For children that have been truly abused they are typically said by professionals to be respectful of their abuser out of fear they will be abused again. On some level they also still want to please the parent and earn their love and affection. They really want their parent to change for the better. Children don't want to cause waves in these parent/child relationships and do not wish incur further issue.
Whereas with a parent who has been successfully brainwashed, estranged, alienated, etc by another parent… the child openly shows hatred, contempt, hostility and refuses any contact. They may ignore Mother's Day and Father's Day and birthdays. They show outward hate for the parent they once had a close loving relationship with but ironically also anyone closely associated with the parent. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, long time friends of the parent, etc are all susceptible to also being shown contempt and a result broken ties. This extreme situation is not normal and should be a red flag to anyone; attorney, ad litem, psychologist, judge etc that witnesses a child who adamantly refuses to see a parent, refuses phone contact and also writes off that parent's family members. This type of situation should be seen as need for psychological evaluations on the parent suspected of alienation and a thorough investigation done by an ad litem, etc.
The hate and "fear" that the child shows is irrational, unwarranted and caused by the alienating parent by various tactics they implement. The child will defend their actions stating they are their own person and can think for themselves; that they are not being influenced by the alienating parent. But this simply isn't true. Influence is alive and well and has been for some time.
We may still loosely throw around the terms "alienation" or "alienating parent" in conversation and those terms certainly seem fitting for what one parent is doing… alienating the child (or children) from the other parent. However, it's been realized now that the term that seems to fit this type of toxic behavior is actually called Domestic Violence by Proxy…. or DV by Proxy for short. What we call "alienating behaviors" is technically DV by Proxy… which is a pattern of negative behavior that an abuser continues after divorce from their spouse in which they substitute the child, using them as a pawn in their agenda of control and punishment.
Most folks would never believe that an adult would go to such lengths to punish an ex… yet they exist. Most people can't imagine that an adult would use their own child to punish their ex… yet they do. Until family court systems become educated on these behaviors children will continue to suffer at the hands of parents who are not only toxic but downright dangerous. They may not be physically assaulting their child… but they are mind-raping them every single day by screwing with them psychologically. The court systems should want better for the children they are supposed to be protecting.
If you are a member of One Mom's Battle on Facebook you may already be aware of the term DV by Proxy… and even though with all good intentions many are still using the term "alienation" as Ryan Thomas Speaks does, many are recognizing after more in-depth research that the more accurate term to use is DV by Proxy.
As Alina Patterson explains in her book Health & Healing….
"DV by Proxy includes tactics such as: threats of harm to children if they display a positive bond to the TP (Target Parent), destroying favored possessions given by the TP, and emotional torture (for example, telling the child the TP hates them, was not at the birth/wanted an abortion, and is not bothering with them because they are unloved).
DV by Proxy may also include coaching the child to make false allegations regarding the TP's behavior and harming or punishing the child for not complying. DV by Proxy perpetrators may also create fraudulent documents to defraud the court in order to prevent the TP from gaining custody. Whether or not the child is biologically related to them is irrelevant to perpetrators of DV by Proxy. The perpetrator's main motivation is to hurt the TP; whether or not their own child is harmed in the process is irrelevant to the abuser."
The behaviors of the parent who engages in DV by Proxy are deliberate, calculating and evil. They are fully aware of what they are doing. Please don't be mistaken that it's something they are just innocently engaging in or are merely inept at what's right and wrong. It's evil pure and simple. And those of us who have witnessed it and continue to day in and day out… who hear heartbreaking snippets when our babies come home to us for a fleeting few days, week, etc… we keep documenting, we keep listening, we keep praying… we keep speaking up…. we keep fighting.
We won't be silent. We won't back down. We won't give up.
www.gracepowerstrength.com - 2016