Category: Parenting

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Edhar

Edhar

Mr. Perfect, I am not, nor ever will be.

When my emotions are triggered, sometimes I yell at the people I love, and it takes me several minutes before I give them the apology I immediately know they deserve. My sense of humor is occasionally offensive & immature.

I’ve been known to fart in the car after hitting the window lock to punish my sons for not doing the dishes the night before. I constantly forget the birthdays of friends I have known since I was five.

My omelets still fall apart in the pan one-third of the time (okay, two-fifths).

But I am Mr. Sincere Effort. My grandfather always said, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing right, and I applied this mantra to my marriage. I didn’t excuse myself from the domestic responsibilities. I did the grocery shopping & the cooking. I made the arrangements for holidays, birthdays, camping trips, vacations, & special occasions. I bought the picture frames and hung the family portraits in ascending chronological order along the staircase in our home. I did my best to make decisions together, to view marriage as a partnership of two equals, and always create an environment where my wife felt comfortable speaking her mind. I valued my wife & my family and did my best to express that in every way I could.

I took breaks when I had to, made mistakes because humans do, and sometimes pouted more than a grown man should, but I was always authentic & sincere with my words & my actions. I wore my heart on my shirtsleeves. When she spoke, I truly listened; when she felt, I truly cared; when she smiled, I rejoiced; when she cried, my world stopped. If my wife told me she wanted something, she got it. If she said something wasn’t right, I changed it.

I never placed any other woman above her; I told her she was beautiful and that I loved her as many times each day as I could, and I sought out as many different ways to show her as I could. I was quick to forgive, slow to give up, and the first one to give in & apologize after a disagreement.

Everything I owned belonged to her, and everything I did was for her. Throughout our divorce, I continually told her, “I have no problem with you getting half; I was planning on giving you everything for the rest of my life.”

We had numerous conversations where we had agreed if ever we did get a divorce, we would conduct ourselves with dignity and mutual respect — not to disclose each other’s secrets, to share custody of & responsibility for our children, and to allow each other the freedom to find happiness with another person. I kept those promises even after she broke them because, to me, they were promises I made to myself — not to her. Too late, I realized that silence only benefits the abuser. When deciding whether to disclose something personal, I have learned to ask myself whether remaining silent or being honest would be more harmful to myself and others… once I applied that rule, it became readily apparent that remaining silent about her abuse & her lies is no longer tenable.

I was so loyal to her, I betrayed myself.

Until the end, she knew that she was still my first choice, and I would have done anything she asked — if only she would commit to the only two things I ever asked of her: to be faithful. Looking back, I’m ashamed of how weak & desperate I appear; while living through it, I saw it as exhibiting Christ-like forgiveness, turning the other cheek, and responding with love no matter what.

If any of the chances I gave her had resulted in her making that commitment and saving our family from brokenness, it would have been worth any potential loss of pride. I didn’t care about what the world thought of me… until she started to turn the world against me. It was only once I accepted that our relationship was doomed from the start that I began to regret all that I had invested into it.

It’s easy to cast judgment once we know all the facts and how things end; it’s not so easy living through it, hating yourself for loving someone who is no longer the person you loved, burying yourself deeper into the delusion as the reality of your situation becomes ever darker & more terrifying.

I went from a world where the most beautiful woman in the world was my ideal lover & my best friend forever to a world where I had sacrificed my dream job, my career, my potential, my wealth, my friends, my reputation, and two decades of my life for nothing. Knowing firsthand the pain of divorce, the shame of admitting to being abused by your intimate partner (particularly as a man, where showing weakness is emasculating and a loss of one’s very gender identity), the devastation caused by a narcissist’s smear campaign and the difficulty in rebuilding one’s life from the ashes, I no longer question why people find it difficult to leave abusive relationships.

When she cheated on me, I tried to understand why and asked what was wrong with our relationship rather than condemning her for seeking to have her needs met outside of it. I prayed for the strength to forgive her and struggled through the grieving & the healing that I had to do without her because I believed it would be worthwhile if it resulted in our family remaining unbroken. I kept a hopeful heart, and gave second chances when I should not have, out of hope, love, & loyalty.

Her on-again, the off-again affair had lasted over twelve years by the time she chose to take advantage of the trust shown to her by myself & my parents and engage in illicit, overtly sexual, & clandestine conversations with her lover while on our family vacation, after promising it was over and pretending to send him a message ending things between them once and for all. She had heard me say repeatedly that I did not want to be with someone who did not want to be with me. If she wanted to be with him, then I was willing & ready to work together with her to divorce in a manner that placed the least possible amount of stress upon our finances and our children.

Yet she consciously and with undeniable intention chose to deceive me, to violate every agreement we had made, to weave a false narrative that presented her as the victim rather than as the instigator of the illicit activities that had occurred behind closed doors in the privacy of our bedroom. When her deception threatened the financial stability of our family, the professional reputation I had spent a decade and a half nurturing. The educational opportunities available to our sons, she chose to remain silent rather than confess to her crimes… sacrificing her children and the man who had loved her selflessly for nearly twenty years rather than accept any threat to her perfect self-image. It was then that I began to understand the true depravity of narcissism: once someone has sacrificed their most valuable possession — their inner child, their light, their divine spark, their soul, their True Self — on the altar of their ego, there is nothing they will not sacrifice.

When she falsely accused me of being abusive, having not yet learned this lesson, I was beyond shocked & hurt. The most unbelievable thing of all to me, however, was how quickly her false accusations were accepted as factual, despite numerous, well-documented evidence of her alcoholism, drug use, affairs, false statements, and mental health issues — including attempting to seduce an on-duty police officer while severely intoxicated, just moments after falsely accusing me of abusing her.

As much as I attempted to view the situation with detachment from my perspective & consideration of their points of view, I found the incompetence & bias exhibited by the local police department to be simply staggering… not to mention the ease in which they were able to subvert the process of justice to serve their agenda and avoid ever being called out for their grossly unprofessional and in some instances criminal misconduct.

It’s considered to be in poor taste to question the statements of a woman claiming to be a victim of domestic abuse, so no questions were ever asked of her. It’s disrespectful to accuse a police officer of lying, so none of their lies were ever called out in court. All the evidence that did not support what they wanted to believe was ignored, and their imaginations filled in the gaps in their knowledge with reality so twisted & far from the truth that it says more about their demons than mine.

When I found out later from someone who worked in the county corrections department that one of the officers had gotten divorced after his wife caught him in bed with another man and that another officer’s wife had shown up at the hospital covered in bruises a few months after giving birth to triplets (everyone in the department knew what happened, she told me, yet the officer never suffered any consequences for beating his wife), and that the police chiefs in the surrounding community all considered the head of that department to be chauvinistic, arrogant, and impossible to work with, the pieces started falling into place. What we refuse to see in ourselves, we see in others.

All I have left is truth, love, and hope.

The truth I cling to as a drowning man to a piece of the ship that failed to hold together against the storm and left him adrift in a dark & uncaring sea.

The love I have for my sons keeps me getting out of bed when I feel I have nothing left to look forward to, happiness is a shore upon which I will never rest, and all my dreams are now forever out of my reach.

And hope…

Well, I hope that I am wrong.

I do not share this in hopes of receiving sympathy or pity.

My motives in writing this are purely selfish… to be able to look at myself in the mirror.

To hold my head high when the world wants me to be ashamed.

To say that, come what may, I spoke my truth.

To grow more confident in telling my story and to defy the fear and the voice that would have me fade silently away, leaving it all unsaid.

Fuck that fear.

Fuck that voice.

And fuck narcissists.

Anndrej

Anndrej

I’ve seen too many women alienate children from their fathers. My ex-partner was one of them. I asked myself why? It too me years to understand that the reasons is that they wish to hurt their ex-partner for leaving them. These partners focus only on their own wishes and needs — they are driven by an obsessive desire to punish the other parent. They don’t understand that children need both parents to develop into healthy adults.

I am struggling to co-parent with my ex. I tried for years to keep the communication open, positive, and productive. I engaged in countless, nonsense communications with my ex to keep in touch with our children as I feared that the ex would cut me out of our children lives.

But I am a parent too. I parental responsibility and my ex can keep up causing issues but I have the right to be involved in our children’s lives. This year I finally secured a court order.I hoped that things would become easier but they didn’t. The ex continuous to engage in toxic behaviours such as:

• Intervenes and limits the communication between me and our children.
• Tells lies, badmouths and belittles me in front of our children.
• Speaks poorly about my family.
• Undermines my authority.
• Disregards the court order — visitations and contact arrangements.

I’ve realized it’s nearly impossible to to co-parent with a toxic parent who does the above things. Co-parenting is teamwork. It’s a mutual effort to do things in the best interest of the child.

But I understood after few years what I can do to protect myself and our children:

“I got a court order.”

You can’t negotiate with terrorists. You need to have a plan and know what you want to accomplish. Go before a judge with a plan, ask for visitations, create the timetable when and where you will be seeing your child. Add also online contact — phone communication. How the ex should keep you up to date with school issues, medical emergencies or anything else related to the child. Keep the communication in one place, ideally via email. If she the ex-partner starts making mistakes and creates issues, you can take them back to court. Get the most detailed court order that you can.

“Wait…”

The best thing you can do is wait: wait for your ex to mix up the court arrangements, show hostility, forget to pick up the child. You should also wait for your child to grow older to be able to make their mind of their own. Waiting doesn’t mean giving up — on the contrary, waiting means being there for your children when they need you and they will need you very soon.

That’s why keeping your distance and focusing on building your life for you and your children is the best thing I and you can and should do.

“In the Meantime, Live Your Life”

I can’t change your ex. I did all you could. Now I need to focus on myself — this way you I am helping my child. I took time for myself and to improve my mental health, sought therapy. Every time I come by to pick up children — I come with the biggest smile.

“Keep The Focus On Your Children.”

I call, text and am present in my children’s life. Even if my ex hides the phone and tries to cut contact I have the evidence that every day I texted your children goodnight. One day you I will be able to show all of these messages to my kids.One day, my children will come back to me because they won’t stay children forever. From now on I only focus on today and tomorrow, for my children.

Jose

Jose

I Have Three Children, But In Reality, I Have None.

“You know, always wanted to have a family. I wanted to have children. I wanted to be a good husband and a devoted father. I wanted to be the provider for the family, someone they can always lean on and find comfort and support…I have three children and somehow I feel that I have none…”

I am an empath.

A few years back I got divorced. I was married for 8 years, and in the last 5 years of my relationship with my ex-wife, our communication and closeness started fading off. I have two boys with her. She too wanted a family, but not with me.

She just wanted the kids — not the relationship.

She persuaded him to move from Berlin to a small town in south Germany, just so she can be close to her mum and dad. She stopped working, and I was okay with that. After all, I was the provider. The man!

My wife decided it would be good if we buy a flat in Berlin, but live with her parents, under their roof in this little town. I obliged and took a mortgage and got them a spacious apartment in Berlin.

Years went by and my wife along with her parents made more decisions, excluding me and just demanding more money from me. I  kept on giving them the money. By doing so I hoped to keep my family. I worked long hours, and side gigs, and gave money directly to her father.

Later I found out that he was actually paying off her father’s debts, but most importantly I realized that I have been shut out from the family. I was never asked or consulted about any of the decisions and when I tried to communicate with my wife — she ran off to her Mummy and Daddy.

I kept all of these frustrations bottled up inside, until one day I could not anymore. I stood up and asked my wife to move away with me and our children back to Berlin — to start again, to seek therapy, to get closer. She refused.

The next day I was informed by her father that it would be best if I would leave, adding that his daughter will be divorcing me! I was devasted. What followed next was months of suicidal thoughts, depression, and pure agony.
I left for Berlin and within two months her family pressured me to sell the flat that I bought for her and our children. I didn’t want to go to court, nor i could handle it emotionally or financially. I agreed and sold it. All the money went to her.

From now on I was seeing my sons, once or twice per month. She refuses to take them to Berlin so I embark on 380 miles journey to see them whenever the finances allow me. I call, and the phone is turned off. I send gifts and they are undelivered.

At my lowest point in life, I meet another woman. And just then, I so desperately hopes that my life might just turn around for the better. Unfortunately, it didn’t. It got worse.

I fell in love with a narcissist, who not only suffers from NPD but also from a borderline personality disorder and OCD and god knows what. Within the first three months of our relationship, she displayed minor traits of the above diagnoses such as jealousy, obsessiveness, black and white thinking, and subtle manipulation.

Soon she got pregnant her true persona came to life.

She beat, belittled, and isolated me. She stopped me from communicating with my two children, she controlled all the finances and threatened me.

“If you dare to leave you will never see your child again!”

I made the same mistake again.
I took another mortgage and bought us a smaller flat, but this time, but didn’t marry her. This abuse lasted for a year and when I finally reaches the bottom — being punched in the face so hard, that my lips were swallowed, my face scratched and my work computer destroyed just because I dared to go to the office meeting instead of staying with her and working from home.

I gathered the strength and the will to admit that I am a victim of a toxic abuse relationship and that it will never get better.

And with the help of my friends, and the family I left her.

Now I live in his mother’s home, while the flat I pay off is empty. She demands the flat be sold and half of the money be given to her. She demands spousal support even though she was never my spouse. She demands an unimaginable amount of child support. She demands that I pay her rent.

She calls me 10 days per day and leaves threats.

“You will never get rid of me! Never, you hear me?! Never! I will make the rest of your life a living hell and when our son is older I will tell him all about you!”
My friend sees his baby twice per week. His baby is only 7 months old. His son is innocent. But what awaits this baby?

So what can people like I do?
When you spend time with your child you need to focus on maintaining a loving, positive and compassionate relationship so the child knows that they are safe with you.
Never speak about the other parent in a derogatory way. Focus on your child, listen to them, and don’t pressure them into speaking when they aren’t willing, just be there for them. Always be even-tempered and keep your emotions under control.
Keep reassuring your child that they can always speak to you about anything and everything and that you are here for them. Keep telling them how much you love them. Keep showing up. Be always rational and reasonable and have the best interest of the child at your heart.
Be proactive, if you can and are allowed, seek therapy for your child. Search for a specialist in a PSD and someone who is not affiliated with the alienating parent in any way.
Be the role model for your kids. Show your children through your actions that you have their best interest as your priority.
Stay focused and most importantly present when you spend time with your children. Keep calling even when you know that the phone will be hidden, show up at the door even when you know that the other parent has made plans and your child will be made unavailable.

This will be painful but you must and will endure because you must remember that you have the tools to give your child a chance to develop into a healthy adult.
Please don’t care what other people will say, think or do. These are your children and you are their parent. And only you know who are you dealing with when it comes to your ex-partner.
Stay strong and don’t give in. There is a long bumpy and treacherous road ahead of you so you must be physically and mentally prepared to embark on it.
At times, you must make your well-being a priority, before helping your children. And that’s okay, don’t be hard on yourself.
Life was never meant to be easy, and it’s not your fault that you’ve ended up in a relationship with a narcissist.

But it’s also not your children’s fault.

Do your best to help your children grow up and become responsible parents so they don’t repeat their parents’ mistakes.

Protect yourself and protect them from any harm, even when it comes to protecting them from their own families.