As I stood in the doorway of the back door of my pick up, talking with my daughter who was sitting in the passenger seat up front, I explained to her what I needed to do to protect myself and ultimately us. I put a call into the sheriff unsure of what to do with a young girl adamant that although still on her “father’s” clock, was refusing to finish out her 3 1/2 hours of time with him. Forcing a young teen to do anything they don’t want to is like wrestling an 800 lb gorilla to the ground … good luck! While we waited for the sheriff to return my call and my ex sat with his pick up running in my driveway, hollering from the window at us, we talked about the different outcomes that might come out of the different choices she had. I watched as my daughter weighed her options and it became very clear to me that her willingness to miss her game by holding her ground was deeply rooted. It wasn’t about being bratty or stirring up trouble for herself. Her need to be heard was and is strong not to mention the violating behavior that she endured the day before had undoubtedly exhausted her. As the clock ticked, she continued to explain her position with me while I intently listened.
Finally, unable to contain his anger, my ex threw his pick up in reverse throwing gravel, then slammed it into park on the passenger side of mine as he leaped out. I redialed the sheriff knowing from past experiences this could go south fast. He stormed to my daughter’s side of the pick up. I saw her look at me and then look at the door handle in a panic, it was too late to shut the door without hitting him. He was yelling, pointing his finger at me, accusing me of playing games and pulling selfish shenanigans (not sure how any of this was benefiting me). His face was beet red, his veins were busting out of his neck and his eyes had that recognizable, “I want to beat the life out of you” look I know all too well. Repeatedly, I asked him to calm down … he continued to yell … I told him to get in his pick up … he raged and cussed … I got firm and demanded he get in his pick up and off of our property at that point explaining that I already had a call into the sheriff to sort this out. I demanded one final time that he leave and he finally stormed away, slamming the door to his pick up, cussing and throwing gravel as he sped out our driveway, skidding to a stop and parking on the county road. And for what? Because his daughter didn’t want to ride with him!?! I later learned that he was laying in wait for me, hidden behind the fire station by the mechanic’s shop in the small town 9 miles away that we would have driven through to head to the game (40 minutes after he’d left, speeding down our county road). I felt relieved that I’d listened to the wisdom of my intuition, the sheriff’s direction and recognized that no matter how hard I tried, I was a rock in a hard spot.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual that therapists use as a guide states that a person need only to exhibit 55% of the identified characteristics to be considered narcissistic. The more in depth my research becomes, the more answers I find. As I study and become an expert in my niche, the more healing from my past I gain. After the events of Monday afternoon, there was a tweet that was meant to bring attention to those that, laughingly, believe themselves to be the victims. Narcissists are professionals at playing the victim in each and every circumstance, event and situation. What was so humorous about the tweet was that it had nothing to do with what actually happened. Somehow I was to blame for a young teen unwaveringly standing her ground regarding what she felt was in her best interest (honestly, knowing how difficult it is to stand up for what we believe is right especially against an authority figure, I’m hopeful she will be able to do this with peers in the future should she have to). The tweet stated how sad it is that parents use their kids to satisfy their own vengeful need to hurt their ex. I laugh as I type this considering that the one tweeting this victim statement likely has only been told the part of the story that her narcissistic husband-to-be wants her to know, not the whole story. You see that’s a narcissist’s m.o. The man she thinks she knows is merely who he projects himself to be. By tweeting the things she has been over the past week, the only ones being hurt are my kids. Is that the pot calling the kettle black? Hmmmm…..
Dr. Fjelstad states in a recent writing, “The narcissist’s entire life is motivated and energized by fear. Most narcissists’ fears are deeply buried and repressed. They’re constantly afraid of being ridiculed, rejected, or wrong.” Is it any wonder that when my daughter stood her ground expressing repeatedly that she did not want to ride the 3 hours east to her softball game with my ex that he reacted as crazily as he did? In his mind she was rejecting him and he wasn’t going to have it! A normal person would have said, “You want to ride with your mom? Okay, I’ll see ya there.” A normal person wouldn’t have taken it personally, they would have considered that during the summer, the kids go 7 days without seeing the other parent and by the end of that week, may be ready to spend time with the one they haven’t seen. We aren’t dealing with normal, we are dealing with a covert narcissist who took her refusal to ride with him as a personal attack.
I quickly became the proverbial rock in a hard place. Here I am, at my home, he’s dropped my son off early, my daughter has decided to follow me to my pick up, get in and refuse to ride with him. Instead of a calm conversation with her, seeing her desire through her eyes and from her point of view, he raged, fists clenched, veins popping out of his neck, spitting as he commanded her to do as he said (ummm…for starters she’s a young teen girl not a dog), cussing and bordering on becoming violent. Dr. Fjalstad goes on to discuss the narcissists inability to communicate or work as part of a team. “Thoughtful, cooperative behaviors require a real understanding of each other’s feelings. How will the other person feel? Will this action make both of us happy? How will this affect our relationship? These are questions that narcissists don’t have the capacity or the motivation to think about. Don’t expect the narcissist to understand your feelings, give in, or give up anything he wants for your benefit; it’s useless.”
Which leads me to share what Dr. Fjalstad states regarding a narcissists lack of empathy. “Narcissists have very little ability to empathize with others. … Narcissists expect others to think and feel the same as they do and seldom have any thought as to how others feel. They are rarely apologetic, remorseful or guilty.” She closes this section on empathy or rather the lack thereof by stating, “This lack of empathy makes true relationships and emotional connection with narcissists difficult or impossible.”
There was truth to the tweet, the kids are the ones that pay the price, that ultimately suffer however, the blame has been wrongly placed. Imagine, if when my daughter told them she hadn’t bought (or shoplifted) what she was told she couldn’t have, they took her at her word? Imagine if when my daughter says, “I want to go home. I miss my mom”, she is heard and it’s arranged for her to come home, how different things might be. Imagine if when she said, “I want to ride with mom”, the response was, “Okay”, how different the afternoon would have been.
I’m sure a backlash of lectures and punishment are awaiting her. She’s already beginning to exhibit signs of distress over returning to her “father’s” Monday evening. My heart feels sick and my own anxiety mounts as I too silently anticipate the rough week ahead. It’s hard to put into words what goes on inside my heart as I drop my kids off each week, into the very environment that causes them so much angst. Ugh…
“You are beautiful, powerful, brilliant & brave”