When you end a relationship with an abuser, the best way to completely heal and move on is to completely stop all contact with that person.
Unfortunately, when you share a child with the abuser, that’s not an option. You’re forced to have an ongoing relationship with him. It's an extremely unhealthy situation in general and it goes against everything you should be doing to heal yourself.
When I first left and was on my own, I felt freedom to do as I chose. I could go to any restaurant I wished and order whatever sounded good to me. He didn’t have any influence on my decisions any longer!
And then my daughter came home to tell me that her dad didn’t like the friend I was going out with, didn’t like the pastor I was listening to, didn’t like the restaurant where I was eating.
I was suddenly opened up to all his ridicule and it was coming right from my own child’s mouth. I started making decisions based on his opinions so that I wouldn’t have to hear what he would say about me. I didn’t want my child to be inundated with his disapproval of me.
Part of this was because underneath the surface, I still wanted his approval. I wanted him to think I was a good mom, a good Christian, and that I could make it on my own. I had so many unmet emotional needs in our marriage and I was still trying to get those needs met in our coparenting relationship.
I needed some deeper healing in that area.
I decided to take action right away to stop looking for his approval and start living my life my own way.
The next time my daughter told me that her dad didn’t like the pastor I listened to, I told her, “Of course he doesn’t. He’s got his own opinion of what makes a good pastor. There’s a lot we don’t agree on.”
The next time she told me he didn’t like my friend, I told her, “Of course he doesn’t. She helps us a lot and he doesn’t like that.”
I kept it light and age appropriate. I didn’t say anything bad about her dad or his opinions. He definitely sent me an email about it and I got a lot of kickback. But I simply told him that he and I can disagree.
I share this story to encourage you to do these four things:
- Accept that you will never win his approval. You can’t do exactly what he wants you to do or parent the way he wants you to. It’s just like still being married to him and he didn’t approve of you then, either!
- Understand the truth that his opinion means absolutely nothing. He’s going to fill your children’s heads with his thoughts no matter what you do. It’s ok for Mom and Dad to believe different things. You need to tell your kids what YOU believe so that they have an alternative to his thoughts.
- Learn to let it go. You might get frustrated because he’s constantly telling the kids that you’re a bad mom and you make bad decisions. He’s going to do that no matter what, so don’t internalize it. Don’t take it to heart. Live your own life with your own decisions and let what he says just roll off your back.
- Realize that by doing these three things, you’re showing your kids that it’s ok to disagree with their dad. You’re giving them permission, by example, to have different opinions, different beliefs, different likes and dislikes.
The narcissist is constantly working to throw you off balance. By working on these four things, you’re building a legacy for your children to make their own decisions and live their own lives. You deserve it. Your kids deserve it.
If you need help organizing your thoughts around this, click below to schedule a free, no obligation 15-minute coaching consultation with me. Moms who do this walk away from our meeting feeling empowered and like they’ve been set on the right path to freedom from the narcissist.
God made you for this!
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