What is worse – having a narcissistic father that fights for custody and makes the kids’ lives miserable on a daily basis, or having a narcissistic father who wants nothing to do with his children, if they won’t do things his way? I think Will and Jenny have it better. While they will certainly be hurt by the fact that their dad can so easily walk away, they won’t have to deal with the day-to-day dismissals of who they are. They won’t have Mark belittling them or using them as extensions of himself.
In Mark’s lengthy email, he had asked me what I proposed as a solution to this problem – like he’d actually entertain any of my suggestions. He hinted at the possibility of resorting to calling lawyers again, and forcing visitation. I speculated that things would go something like this:
- He wouldn’t call the attorney because, after himself, and above all else, money is the most important thing to him. Attorneys cost money.
- He would not agree to adapt his behavior in an effort to have a better relationship with these two precious people.
- I guessed that he would not address any of the kids’ requests. I was pretty convinced that he’d tell them he was trying his best and that he loved them. Then, as per usual, he would not call a couple days and wait for the dust to settle. Then, on about the fifth day of no contact, he’d call, and with his sing/song voice, he’d invite them to do something, pretending like nothing had ever happened.
I did not guess that he would walk away from his kids. I did not let myself believe that he was as low as he apparently is. I did not see that coming, even though I have written about the fact that, if the accommodator stops being the source, the narcissist will completely dismiss her, and search for a new source. And there lies the trap in all this. As schooled as I may think I am in all this narcissism stuff, there is still something (frickin’ Lizard Brain) that makes it hard to comprehend that another individual – someone I thought I knew, and loved – is capable of such things.
So now what?
The night they learned that their dad was essentially saying, “goodbye,” I took them under my wings, turned on the TV and promised their favorite foods. Yes, I am setting my kids up for food issues. Luckily their metabolisms appear to run on high, they are active, and they like to be outside. Why do we use food for comfort, anyway? Because it’s comforting. I’m not handing them a bag of chips, a soda, and candy. My version of comfort through food is making their favorite dinners – even if it’s two different things.
We vented for a bit. Talked about how it is even possible for a dad to say, “I’ll leave you alone.” And then we agreed that it’s his loss.
In an effort to change the subject, I said, “Boy, it’d be great if ‘The Good Witch’ was on tonight. ‘The Good Witch’ is a Hallmark Movie that the three of us have watched a few times. It’s a quaint story, and a break from Nickelodeon and Disney for me. So we checked the guide, and as our version of luck would have it, ‘The Good Witch’ was going to be on that very night. That provided us with a nice distraction. And the lesson there is, we have to capitalize on these little high points of the day. They may seem insignificant, but they serve as vehicles for taking us away from the crap. We are getting really good at turning little bright spots into large, happy, shiny moments. If you string enough of those moments together, pretty soon, you are transported away from the negative.
Then I promised Will I’d make Mexican Salad. Jenny doesn’t care for salad. Her first choice is PBJ. So, with my menu planned, it was time to pour some wine and get to work, and stop thinking about Mark and my desire to go to his house and beat him to a bloody pulp.
It’s particularly funny that I’m writing about this recipe. I got it from my Aunt Pat. She doesn’t mince words when she tells you that she hates to cook. In fact, Uncle Dave has taken to the kitchen recently. Pat was over for tea on Wednesday. She told a sweet story about how one of their girls was over while Dave was fixing dinner. The daughter sighed, said she had to get home to start dinner, and said, “I wish I had a husband who’d cook once in awhile.” Uncle Dave gave her a warm smile and said, “Your mom spent a lot of years in the kitchen cooking for all of us. I figured it was my turn to take a shift.”
Aunt Pat’s Mexican Salad
- 1/3 head of iceberg lettuce – torn into bite-sized chunks
- 1 tomato – diced
- 1 avocado – diced
- 1/4 yellow onion – finely diced
- 1/2 pound hamburger – browned
- 1/2 C red kidney beans – rinsed and drained
- 1 C grated cheddar cheese
- about 2 C crunched up tortilla chips – not pulverized
- Taco Sauce – I use Old El Paso Medium Taco Sauce
- Italian Dressing
After the hamburger is browned, add the drained, rinsed kidney beans and cook on low for about 10 minutes. Add a little salt and pepper. While this is simmering, put the vegies together. How come people don’t like iceberg lettuce anymore. It may not be as pretty (or as healthy) as all the highfalutin fancy greens out there, but it has crunch. This salad needs crunch. Take the meat and beans off the heat and let cool a bit. Add the grated cheese to the vegies, top with the crunched chips and spoon the meat/bean mix on top. Pour on several glugs (about 1/3 C) Italian Dressing, and the same amount of Taco Sauce. Toss it together gently, so the lettuce still has a bit of crunch.
This makes a complete, quick, healthy dinner. Top the salad with a glob of sour cream. Serve with a coke. It’s a killer combination, and about the only time I have a coke. Although, the salad is excellent with a Corona, too. It seems to make a ton, and it doesn’t keep since it has already been dressed. Will can eat three big servings.
So Jen, with her PBJ, and Will and I with our salads, sat in front of the TV watching Cassie Nightingale dole out her mysterious version of wisdom, in ‘The Good Witch’.
I’m sure Mark is not thinking I’m a good witch.
I’d turn him into a frog if I could.