One of the hardest things is knowing that my children see everything and they know there is an injustice to the whole situation regardless of how sheltered I try to keep them. The parenting of a narcissist/sociopath is so incredibly destructive to children. Narcs lack the ability to recognize the best interest of the children because they are too preoccupied with their own needs and their compulsion to destroy you. This has truly been the worst thing I’ve had to witness and deal with. I wish I had answers or insight to help everyone in this situation but I simply don’t. Outside of trying to gain sole custody or running away to the dark side of the moon, I don’t think there is much of an answer. The narcissist is unable to deal with/recognize any personal fault or responsibility therefore co-parenting with them is a lost and heartbreaking cause.
My 6 year old son, M, is very vocal with his views and is never afraid to ask questions. My daughter, A, is a peacemaker by nature and much more reserved. She will tell me things but then asks me to keep it a secret. They see very clearly a duality in their father. They also have come to realize that what their father says to them isn’t regularly the truth. And lastly and probably the saddest thing is they have started referring to their father as a liar based solely on the things he’s told them and their own discovery of the truth. I have worked so hard to keep my children far away from the abuse and degradation their father lays on me. While Bruce and I were married we never argued or had harsh words in front of the children. I have never ever spoken ill of their father to them and have tried to encourage them to have an open and respectful relationship with him. Regardless, the children aren’t blind and they have a way of seeing people for exactly who they are. Here is a small example of how my son has started to see the world. My heart broke that night.
My kids had dinner w/their dad tonight and here’s part of the conversation that went on in the car after I picked them up and then again later that evening.
I picked up A and M and asked them if they had fun and what they did. M tells me, “Daddy left right after he picked us up. He left us with Kara. He left us just like he used to do when you were married. We didn’t see him at all, he ditched us.”
Then he adds, “I think now that all the times Daddy said he was working when you guys were married, he was really with Kara [Kundinger] I think he is with another girlfriend now because he is always working again.”
I just kind of let him talk on the way home and added an innocuous “uh-huh” now and then.
Then later that evening while we were watching TV he drops this bomb on me.
We were watching The Big Bang Theory season 6, the Valentine ’s Day episode. Penny says, “…it’s not fair they get a happy ending they’re bad people.”
M. looks at me and says, “Do you ever feel that way about Daddy and Kara [Kundinger] because they are bad people and they are happy?”
I looked at him dumbfounded and all I could manage to tell him was, “You’re my happy ending, baby.”
These were such small comments made during the duration of an evening but they spoke volumes about how my 6 year old son sees the world around him. It made me sad that my son defined his father as a bad person. It hurts that a 6 year old is clearly seeing the decisions his father makes and not agreeing with his father’s choices. It hurts that he’s been forced into this level of maturity. I feel torn because I don’t want to undermine my ex as a parent but I also feel it’s equally important to not discount or dismiss my children’s views. What my children are seeing and saying is very real and true and I want to encourage them to explore their feelings and conflictions about these situations. I am honored that they trust me enough to regularly confide in me and I never want to compromise their trust by making them feel their views are insignificant. Such is the life when trying to co-parent with a disturbed individual.