So here you are, trying to have a good weekend, and for once, things are starting to feel normal. You managed not to fall apart, and you even had hope that your life is about to get better.
Then you get a text from your ex. You see his name pop up on your phone, and before you even read it, it feels like a punch in the gut. Your heart beats a little faster. You begin to form sweat beads on your forehead. A mental conversation battles in your head. You think, “Should I open it or should I just delete it without reading it?”
Of course, you open it.
The text goes something like this:
I want to take the kids away this weekend but it’s your weekend so I wondered if we could switch. I have fantastic plans of (fill in the blank) and they will be so excited.
You already have plans with the kids, but his plans seem a lot more fun, and the kids would enjoy it. But you feel a pang of guilt that his plans are better than yours. So you consider giving up your weekend.
But then you realize that you would miss your kids, and have every right to have them, regardless of your plans not being as fun.
So you reply back:
That sounds great, but I already have plans with them. Perhaps you can do that with them on your weekend.
Once you hit send, you know you’re in trouble. Now you’re just waiting for the backlash, feeling like a little kid who is about to get scolded from their teacher.
And just like you expect, you get 15 text messages in a row. They may go like this:
Geeze, you really are selfish. I can’t do it another weekend because we just got invited to (fill in the blank) and it’s only happening this weekend. It’s so obvious you’re trying to take special time away from me and the kids. You see, this is why we are divorced, because you NEVER like to have fun, and here I’m trying to do something the kids will like, and now they’ll turn out just like you – boring and selfish.
And boom – just like that, you feel terrible. And because you already think you’re boring, you think there’s truth to the accusation. You’re also saying to yourself, “Whenever I try to stick to my boundaries, I get beat up. This isn’t worth it!”
But here’s what’s really going on, and you’re not seeing it:
1) He has zero regard for your plans with the kids, and doesn’t respect their time with you.
2) Having a last minute request for change of plans may be fair, but healthy people take that into consideration and don’t attack should they not get their way.
3) He knows every single one of your insecurities – after all, you were married for a long time. Think of your insecurities as a Rolodex to him – he doesn’t get his way and he pulls out the list and will attack you on them, one by one.
4) You’ve never fought back before, so he thinks you won’t now. But each time you do creates an “injury” to him – it’s sending him a subconscious message of, “See, you’re not that special or powerful after all.”
5) And because he is threatened by anyone who challenges his false sense of self, he will throw you the “book of insults.” (Look at how Donald Trump has behaved this past week after the debate – the more he loses, the more he insults, Tweets at 3 am, and punishes anyone who threatens his false sense of self).
If your ex is famous for doing this weekly, you must create a list for yourself as to WHY he is behaving this way, just like I did above. Don’t let their disorder become YOUR disorder. Don’t engage in his attacks and rationalize with him why he is wrong and you’re not boring. Do not respond at all.
You are not a child, therefore you should never be scolded or patronized. Remember who you really are, not for who they claim you to be. Rewrite your story – get back to the place your Creator designed for you, and not your aggressor.
Wow…this one really hit home with me. My husband does this to me all the time and I just can’t get him to stop. Everyday it’s like a rollercoaster with him and I feel like I’m struggling to push the cart up the next hill.
One word: OurFamilyWizard
I just heard about this website. Does it flag certain emails? I was thinking of giving it a try.
Fall in love with yourself again. He continues the narcissism role because you let him. Join today medium brand Roberts for best account of cutting emotional chords she tells you straight but gently. Lots of love and hugs to you xxxx
how to join with her. i am haveing a hard time getting over and staying away from my ex.
I can totally relate to this. Sometimes I don’t want to reply because I know it will only lead to an argument and I will give in just to avoid arguing and or not want to continue the argument.
I am going through this exact situation right now (except it’s a trip to Florida in 2 weeks)!! Waiting for his response… ugh. But it was finally time for me to take a stand and say that my plans and my feelings are important too.
Thought I was the only one…
Hi and thank you for writing this. When I try to confront him about something that happened he will distract from himself and attack me. I tried to get our family wizard but was unsuccessful. And I feel like a doormat because I do not fight back. I feel like it’s always going to create more conflict. It’s been very difficult. When we went to custody trial initially, it wasn’t about the well being of our child. He made it all about the validity of the court method of drug testing, the patch, and how it was faulty. He is a meth addict AND a working physicians assistant in Nevada. He is monitored but I question the validity. My daughter enjoys going there but I am always made to be the bad guy. Exactly as you describe!
Wouldn’t the best answer simply be “No?”
Easier said than done. Not when there’s emotional blackmail. And I don’t know that the best answer is ALWAYS no, not when he is planning something that your children really would like to do, and you don’t want them to have to miss out.
Simpler said than done sometimes.
I loved your post till you brought up politics. You need to challenge your thoughts without politics or religion.
That through me off too. What does that have to do with this?
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is real and it’s easily recognized by the symptoms !! This is why Trumps name was used and has nothing to do with politics
Your email was so timely for me. Every interaction with my ex follows this outline except he’s a little smoother/more passive aggressive. Thank you so much for your words – I’m going to keep them close so I can refer to them daily!
It’s hard to go gray rock until you truly feel it inside.
It’s been horrifically fascinating seeing these same dynamics play out on the national stage this past year and so many people either not see it or not care.
My ex Husband threatened me with calling child protective services on me because the last weekend my son had the flu and I didn’t know it from the daycare. I picked my child up from daycare at 5. He picks them up at six. He had a fever at his house at 8. He blamed me for him being sick. My 4 year is trying to be independent now at everything and that goes along with pooping and trying to wipe himself. He doesn’t tell every time he poops so he misses, if you know what I mean. He said that I was negligent for not checking within in the hour before picking them up
I’m in the same boat and this helps me stay focused. Thank you!
We have adult children and he tries to use “what will they think” when trying to settle the divorce agreement. He definitely misses having control over me and money.
I live still live, after year ten of being
divorced, in a continuous legal nightmare. And, with my adult children being hurt, crushed and
Constantly verbally attacked by his
continuing trying to destroy me. Your words help but until the legal system can see through all the games we lose. Thank you.
This is so helpful, thank you!
Thank you. I needed to hear this today.