Another One Last Try

“Jenny will not go skiing with you tomorrow unless you promise to not talk to her in the baby voice.  She asked me to call you and she needs you to promise.  Can you do that for her?”

Tuesday afternoon found Mark over for another visit.  The weather was nice.  They threw the football and played on the swings at the park.  They seemed to enjoy each other.  Mark and Will came in the house to ask if it would be okay for the kids to go skiing with their dad on Wednesday.  I knew I was staring at a potential disaster, but until the kids could tell me that they didn’t want to go, I wasn’t going to stand in the way.  My only comment was that Mark would have to ski the gentler runs all day because of Jen’s ability.  He said, “Well I haven’t been able to ski with my little girl all year, and I really want to see how she’s doing.”  Of course that sounded like he’s been wanting to ski with her, but really the three of us know that he hasn’t skied with her because he prefers the more challenging stuff.

Jenny still remembers the one time we saw him up there this year.  He asked if he could ski a run with us because he wanted to see how Jen was progressing.  She got very excited.  We got off the chair lift, waited for Mark, she made three turns and he yelled, “Good job, Honey.  Don’t forget to lead with your toe.  I’ll catch ya later.”  And he found a cut off that led to a black diamond run.  Jen asked me where he went.  I was stuck telling her that he chose to go down a different run.

Just this week I read a post on Kelly Diels‘ blog about how you can’t teach people how to treat you.  I never have had any luck with that.  But when it comes to my kids, I have to do something.  And since I can’t tie their dad up, and drag him behind my car down the nearest county road, I thought I’d try teaching him.  One more time.

So I made the call, explained that Jen didn’t want to go skiing, but that if he could promise to talk to her like the grown up little girl that she is, she would reconsider.  And he said, “Well, she’s my little girl and I love her.” Okay.  I know that.  I gave him some more time to think about it.  He didn’t offer anything, so I said, “Do you think you can put aside the baby voice tomorrow?”  He hesitated and said he would try.

I could have had a really productive day on Wednesday.  And it wasn’t bad.  It was the kind of day that you might expect if one of your kids was jumping out of a plane with a parachute on his back for the first time, and the other kid was going on her first date with Edward Scissorhands.  I couldn’t focus.  I saw them pull up in front of the house.  Jen got out of the car, and I could see that her eyes were turned down at the corners.  Will was doing his nervous-tic blinking thing.  I didn’t need to ask them how it went.

I have done a relatively good job of not swearing that much on this blog.  I can’t tell you the choice names I would like to call Mark at this point.

That ‘man’ actually mocked Jenny.  He made fun of her for not liking the way he talks to her.  He spoke in this sarcastic baritone voice and said, “So, Jen.  Do you like it better when I talk like this?  Is this better for ya.”  He made fun of her.  And after getting that out of his system, he went back to using that condescending, patronizing, high-pitched baby frickin’ voice for the rest of the day.  He just was not going to let anyone, especially me or Jenny, tell/teach him how to treat his daughter.

Again, they are done.  Again, they want nothing to do with that asshole.  Again, they have gotten their hopes up, only to have them smashed.

Jenny looked me square in the eyes and said, “Mom.  I HATE dad.”  I felt the force behind those words.  I felt the depth of the pain, disappointment and hopelessness.  But we are told that we shouldn’t say that we hate anyone.  What could I say?  “But sweetie, did it hurt your heart a little tiny bit when you said that about your dad?”

“No, mom.  I hate him.”

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  1. Mark is the tree. The bird is the experience all of you have with him.

  2. The three of us are sitting on that damn roof, under that tree, waiting for the Universe to give us permission to find a new tree. How many more signs do we need?

  3. It hope it’s obvious, to anyone reading this, that I wouldn’t be on that frickin’ roof under said tree if it weren’t for my kids. Someone has to hold the umbrella over their beautiful heads.

    Yes, it is up to me to move my precious children to a new tree, or at least away from this tree. But when can I assume that we have tried enough with Mark, we’ve given enough chances, we’ve hoped our last hope, we’ve done all we can do? Will I fail even more miserably as a mom, by moving them away from their ‘dad’? Am I failing more by keeping them under, or even near this tree?

    I’m hearing a chorus of “duhs” from the universe. Am I hearing the universe? Or is it just my head? Or is my head the universe?


  4. And you hold that umbrella masterfully. Are there other ways to get yourself off the roof and out from under the tree besides changing your zip code?

  5. I’ll look at options once I can calmly think of something other than a chainsaw.

  6. wow, i’m just trying to understand if i live with a narcissist , i’m always in hope but with no empathy towards me and my children’s feelings. i’m just wondering after 13 years whether to stay under the tree or grow a seed somewhere else and let us blossom somewhere else………how do you know for definite they are? it’s taking over my bloody life!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Di,
    Thanks for writing. I think I hear the desperation in you. I gotta tell ya, I don’t know how to know for sure. My ex was never officially diagnosed. I had a counselor tell me that my ex most likely was a narcissist. But there isn’t a real good chance of getting a narcissist to go to anyone for any kind of testing for an actual diagnosis. They think they don’t have a problem, so it’s pointless.

    I just know that learning all I could about NPD is what has helped me figure out how to navigate this bizarre relationship. And as you can see, we still fall into the trap of hoping that one day he will see that his kids are fabulous, and love them for who they are.

  8. I’ve been hesitating to mention this, but it seems like this is the time. There is a book out there that talks about evil people, but it sounds like narcissism to me. (It does mention it, but mostly talks about evil.)

    Evil is not where I’m at, but the stories in the book are shocking and sickening. It’s definitely a Christian based perspective, and the book is scholarly in the information it gives, but I think you will understand that you need to stay away from these people after reading this book.

    Its title is “People of the Lie” by M. Scott Peck.

  9. Thanks, Donna. I’ll definitely check out the book.

  10. I care about you and the kids. Wish I could help. Just know that there are many of us out here, and we truly sympathize, empathize, etc. Life is so dang hard. Never give up. This too shall pass. I should write a book — Phyllis’ Favorite Cliches. In the meantime, you are definitely in my thoughts. Too bad that I don’t live near you — I would have you over for a big cup of coffee. And milk and cookies for the kids (and me!) We — all of us — care very much. Very Very much.

  11. Sorry about the grammar mistakes. I should proof-read my comments before sending them. Oh well. I guess it doesn’t matter too much. But you matter. And the kids.

  12. Good morning Phyllis,

    Thanks for writing and encouraging the three of us. We’d love to come for cookies. What kind? :) I’m sure we’ll be fine. We always seem to be. I have a strong sense that we are close to the end of putting up with this. Not because of any intestinal fortitude on my part, but because my kids are older, and less inclined to put up with him. Whew!

    How about you start writing that book. I’d buy one!

    p.s. It’s not about the grammar, it’s about the message. Love you.

  13. I’ve got milk & cookies for the kiddos & wine for the mommy…Anytime you’re up for it K & I would love to hang!! Love you

  14. Oh goody! Another inner tube.

    Love you, and yours, too. :)

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