You’ll Get There

 One day you’ll be sitting at your computer and you’ll open your inbox.

You’ll see your ex-husband’s name and you’ll think, “Crap!”

You’ll take a sip of coffee and think to yourself, “Geez, this day started out so well.  It’s not too hot out this morning.  The coffee’s excellent.  The kids are still sleeping and I have a bit of time to gather myself for the day.  And then this – an email from him.”

“Damn.”

 

You’ll take a deep breath and click to open the email.

Immediately, you’ll notice lots of text.  You’ll scan quickly to get the general content and then you’ll finally exhale.

 

You’ll start at the top and begin reading each word – each accusation, snarky comment and pointed jab.

You’ll read about how you appear to be a smart person yet why would a smart person prevent there kids from seeing their dad?

You’ll read about how hard he tries to be with his kids and all you do is throw up road blocks.

You’ll read about how he is frustrated by the kids spending so much time with family and friends and how that makes him feel left out.

You’ll read through the word salad and the self-important bullshit and the demands.

 

You’ll want to stomp into the kitchen to make a fresh cup of coffee, but you tiptoe so as not to wake the kids.

You’ll stand at the stove, waiting for the water to come to a boil.

You’ll consider the possibility of making a cup of decaf and then decide, “To hell with that, I need caffeine.”

You’ll tell your heart that it doesn’t have to race or raise your blood pressure.

 

 

 

As you pour boiling water into the filter, you imagine yourself pounding on the keyboard as you type your reply.  You’ll use choice expletives.  You’ll call him by all the names you wish you had over all those long years.  You’ll type in all capitals, “THEY DON’T WANT TO SEE YOU BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT TO SEE YOU, not because I don’t want them to see you.”

You’ll list all the examples of how you’ve tried to facilitate this f-d up relationship.  You’ll tell him you’ve been trying to make this work for the kids AND FOR HIM!

You might – ONCE AGAIN – make suggestions of what the kids like to do, that he might also enjoy doing with them.

You’ll consider telling him  – ONCE AGAIN – that if his roommate wasn’t so rude to the kids, maybe they would want to do visits at his house.

 

You’ll start to take a sip of fresh coffee only it’s too hot.

You’ll realize that you’ve typed all those words before.

You’ll remember that those words didn’t help the situation.

You’ll remind yourself that you can’t rationally deal with an irrational person.

You’ll see that you have better things to devote your time and energy to.

 

You’ll tiptoe back to your computer, coffee in hand.

You’ll hit the reply button and take a deep breath.

You’ll type:

“Please take this up with the kids.  I have not prevented them from seeing you.”

 

You’ll hit send.

 

Then you will exhale.

 

 

 

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12 comments

  1. “Please take this up with the kids. I have not prevented them from seeing you.”

    Simple & directly to the point!! Love it!! You have developed some really great skills my dear :). As I was reading your post, I couldn’t help but highlight. 1.Review the problem in front of you (email/ex) 2.Voice how you feel (venting honestly & freely) 3.sit with self (processing period) 4.reshift (gaining focus) 5. Respond ( addressing the issue without depleting unnecessary energy)

    You truly can’t rationalize with an irrational person, you can only make sure you don’t lose YOU during the inevitable exchanges. Good job :)

  2. Kira,

    It’s a battle I can never win. The narcissist will never see that his kids don’t want to see him because of who he is. It HAS to be my fault in order for him to maintain his skewed self-image.

    Since there’s no point in continuing to spar with him, I can follow those steps you listed and bow out of the fight.

    I get through those steps quicker each time.

    Yay!

  3. I should print this out and stick it on my fridge. What a fantastic example to remind myself: don’t engage, don’t get sucked into the vortex.

  4. M,

    I’ve spent all this time developing a backbone – learning to stick up for my self.

    I still have to remember that there’s no point in defending myself to a narcissist.

    Thanks for writing.

  5. You are clear of what you have control over for sure!! I recently participated in a training in which they were discussing outside cues and inside cues. Outside cues are things we have no control over, and include people, places, and things. example:
    People (ex)-As much as you try to rationalize, we can never control people.
    Place-(job)-We may not like the structure, the ways things are run: administration
    Weather(thing)- We may want it to be sunny and warm, and be hit with a torrential downpour.

    Inside cues are our feelings, emotions, and thoughts. We always have control over our inside cues, and ultimately our response. to the outside cues. If we feel angry, we control how long we dwell in that anger, our thoughts related to what’s making us angry, and ultimately how we respond to that anger.

    I think you all are doing the best you can given the ongoing situation. You are aware of the outside cue, just hold strong to what you have control over.

  6. Kira,

    Wow! I love this way of looking at it – cues.

    It seems manageable when you put it that way. It’s a tangible way to address situations – I can affect This versus I can’t affect That.

    Thanks for sharing here, Kira. I know many will find your words helpful.

  7. Glad to share it. I find it extremely helpful when you fully realize what you have control over, & what you don’t. There’s real freedom in the process.

  8. I have done that so many times! The 1000 words I want to write usually ends up to be 10… Or 1010 because I did write all my expletives to get them out first. Haha.

  9. Z,

    I don’t know how I would have survived before the days of email and texting. Those tools are serious life savers… for the kids, too.

  10. For sure! I almost have a panic attack when I have to answer the phone when he calls. He has been ok lately, but I can’t stop that internal alarm because when my guard is down is when he will get me.

  11. My how I can relate to this!! I was told once by a wise counselor to use succinct, direct sentences when replying to a narcissist. This keeps me from being defensive and it throws a N for a loop often because of the lack of engagement in his messed up, irrational reality.

  12. Lynn,

    Yes! It takes a while to get there. And one day, you revel in the fact that your energy doesn’t have to be impacted by their “messed up, irrational reality” any more.

    Yay!

    Just today, we were dealt some passive aggressiveness by the N. In the old days, we’d have tap-danced to figure out what we should do differently. Today, oh, we laughed and said, “Yep. He’s being passive aggressive again. Sucks to be him!”

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