Isn’t it bad enough, that after you get the strength and courage to leave your narcissist, and after you’ve already lost your self-worth, your youth, your time, lots of your money, your sanity, and whatever else you lost because of being in a narcissistic relationship, now you have to lose your kids too? It just isn’t fair; and it isn’t right.
You’ve watched your narcissist manage to convince joint friends and other community members and sometimes even family members that you are the crazy one and he/she is the victim, by his/her masterful manipulation strategies. People are hoodwinked and don’t even realize it. Your good name is slandered. You feel alone, humiliated, discouraged, disheartened, and vengeful.
Now, your kids are subjected to the smear campaign against you and you find it is actually working. It is enough to make you either curl up in the fetal position and give up, or rage with anger like an erupting volcano. Of course, to do either would confirm the reality of the premise of the smear campaign that you are deranged and crazy.
And if you talk about the situation, others will not understand and will simply conclude on their own that the other party must be right – you are psychotic. It’s a no win situation. Say nothing and your name is tarnished. Say anything and your craziness is confirmed.
And if you talk to your own kids about the situation you are drawing them into the middle of your relationship problems with their other parent – which is a big “no no.”
Does going “no contact” include going no contact with your own children as well?
When you seek help from a therapist, you often find that he/she is just as much at a loss as you, because those in the counseling community are often not well-equipped to handle such relationship dynamics. No one is, really.
The courts rarely help and often exacerbate the problem. And if your children are not minors, then court involvement is pointless. Besides that, you can’t legally force anyone to see the truth. Denial is denial and brainwashing is not easily countered.
So, what is a parent to do under these circumstances? Here are some helpful suggestions:
Do not be defensive. I know this is hard, but it is essential for your own peace of mind. Remember, during your entire relationship with the narcissist you were always put on the defense. Don’t let him/her continue to keep you on that course, even through your children. You don’t have to defend yourself. You don’t have to be a perfect human being, always showing others why you are worthy.
In practical terms, the way you do this is to change course whenever you have the feeling of defensiveness. If you feel defensive, then don’t talk, don’t try to get anyone else to “see” the truth. Go for a walk. Write in your journal. Call a friend and vent. Do something else until the feeling is no longer pressing you.
Be strong. Do not give into the feeling of hopelessness and defeat. You have no leverage if you give up and give in to your weakest self. Your children are best served by feeling your strength and by not seeing you being manipulated by the other parent. You are best served by remaining steadfast, stable, strong, and resolute.
Do not give in to the need for approval from your children. Hustling for the approval of any person is not healthy or wise, even if the person happens to be your offspring. Once you need your children to approve of you then you have given your power away to them (and by proxy, to the other parent.)In order to do this you must keep validating yourself and getting external validation from your safe relationships and from your spiritual resources.
Realize you are not alone. Other parents struggle too. While, being among company with other parents is not a solution to the problem, it is important for keeping a proper perspective. What I mean by this, is that other parents, even those not in narcissistic relationships, also struggle with relationship (and other) problems with their children.
Many parents have children that reject them or turn to drugs or unhealthy relationships despite their parents’ desires. Adult children often choose a lifestyle or belief system that is against everything their parents stood for while raising them.There will be no good end to trying to force your children to see things your way.
Many parents also struggle with other difficult parenting conditions, such as having their children face some personal problem where the parent was unable to help – such as a health problem, bullying or criminal or other “out of their control” situation.
Keep a healthy perspective. As mentioned above, it is important to keep the proper perspective. Having a balanced perspective is necessary for keeping your sanity. The best way to do this is to not react on your feelings, but rather to think things through with balance and maturity.
In essence, don’t horriblize the situation, remain calm, and be a problem solver. Reacting with strong emotions will not help you, thinking things through unemotionally will help you in the end. Look at the big picture, and resist the urge to join, “The War of the Roses” with your ex.
State your position once and then move on. It is fair for you to state your position on a matter to your children in order to shed light on the truth. Having your own voice is important for recovery from narcissistic abuse. That being said don’t be a broken record; state your position once, and move on.
Practice Acceptance. Don’t dwell on the negativity of it all. Narcissists do nothing but create a vortex of drama that leads your life into a cesspool. Drag yourself out of the cesspool and land on solid ground, where peace and sunshine abound. Don’t allow the narcissist to steal your joy, even if he/she manages to manipulate your children into his/her web of deception and ugliness.