How many times have you been hoping your narcissistic ex would just do the right thing and put the kids first? And how many times have those hopes been dashed because he only thinks of himself?
Usually it’s because we feel like we’ve run out of options. We’ve physically done everything we can to make things go smoothly for our kids and for ourselves.
All we’re left with is the hope that he does the right thing, even though he’s proven time and time again that he won’t.
Once in a while he might do something that benefits the kids and we tend to cling to that one thing, hoping he’ll do it again. We’re good-hearted people, always hoping for the best. But nine times out of ten, he will stick to his regular MO.
When we cling to that hope and he doesn’t follow the court order or doesn’t put the kids first, we’re left feeling sad, angry, and out of control. This leads to self-sabotaging, coping mechanisms, and stressing out so much that we can wind up yelling at our kids—the LAST thing we want to do!
I remember a time when my daughter was sick during his custody time. He told me to let her stay with me to rest. It seemed like he was actually doing something right by his kid. My hope was that when she was feeling better, we would go back to regular custody time.
But when she was feeling better, went for her regular time with him, and it was time to return to me….did he do the right thing? NO. He kept her during my regular days because he decided he was owed that time he missed when she was sick.
There was really nothing I could do to force him to bring her back to me, so I was left angry and seething with no other option than to just document it. The thing I was most upset about was that I was hoping he would do the right thing and I didn’t put anything in writing to assure that we had an agreement. My daughter was confused and disappointed that she didn’t get to come back to me. That was the worst part.
Remember that a narcissist ex is going to act like this most of the time. When he does, if we let it knock us down and we spend days in negative feelings, then our joy and peace have been stolen.
Armed with this knowledge, I encourage you to stop putting your hope in him and start betting on yourself. Now that’s a strategy that works.
Expect him to be the emotional roller coaster that he is and plan for it.
When he does something good for the kids, chalk it up as a good day and roll with it. When he doesn’t, you’ve already planned for it and it doesn’t rock you to your core.
When you start putting your hope in yourself as a strategy, you can start to put up boundaries and implement them.
Practice them over and over with him and you’ll get stronger. He will no longer steal your joy and peace because you’re steady and not rocked by his BS.
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