We’d given him official notice that we were moving – six weeks in advance of the move date. Prior to our little family meeting where we delivered the news, he had expressed his suspicions – to the kids – about a pending move. He wasn’t surprised.
I was the one who was surprised.
The week before our move, in an uncharacteristic one-line email, he informed me that he was lessening his financial support of the kids. I could almost hear him saying, “Take that for moving. Take that for taking my source. Take that for going on to live a happy life without me.”
I did not reply to his email. I have not spoken to him or written to him since before we moved.
This is what “No Contact” feels like, and it feels damn good!
He continues to call the kids. Well, in all honesty, he calls Jen. He doesn’t often call Will because Will stood up to him and demanded to know why he wouldn’t go in on used skis this year. (In years past, the narcissist always bought his son the best and the newest equipment whether it was needed, or not. How better to help your narcissistic dad look good than to be seen in top-of-the-line equipment on the ski hill? The gravy train has ended, and Will has been looking for used skis. He asked his dad to go in on them. His dad refused.)
The father calls more now than he did when we lived in the same town. He asks them of the hobbies he no longer supports. He asks Will of the skiing he no longer pays for. He asks Jen of the used ice skates he didn’t buy. From what the kids have mentioned, it doesn’t occur to him that he has caused his kids any hardship. But then, he’s a narcissist. What his kids may be going through is the furthest thing from his mind.
So once again, I was looking at having to fight the fight. I’d have to find a new attorney, dig through the box of divorce papers, and get my ducks in a row.
Well-meaning friends and family rallied. “Don’t let him get away with this! Show some force! Go after him!” I was angry enough to think that I could handle the stress that would come with going after him. I was gonna do it for the kids! They don’t deserve this. They shouldn’t be punished because I decided to move us an hour and a half away. I was ready to find a barracuda to handle my case.
I got referrals. I took notes. I made calls.
And then I had the dream.
In the dream, Jen was trying to call me. She had her phone and she was able to dial. When I picked up, all she could tell me was that she was at her dad’s house and that she was in trouble. Will wasn’t there. She was by herself, with her dad. She needed me to get her. She needed me to come NOW. She was terrified of being left alone with her dad.
When I woke, I realized that by pursuing anything legally, I would be opening the kids up to the potential of mandatory visits. Will turns 18 in less than a year. He won’t have to do visits any more. There is no way that I will allow Jen to have visits alone with her dad, and I cannot expect Will to be her chaperone.
The dream was a clear warning: go after money, and you jeopardize their health and safety.
After that, the choice was easy. I haven’t given it a second thought. There’s no doubt in my mind that I won’t risk the kids by going after him, even if the divorce decree makes it clear that he owes these monies.
I am fortunate to have a choice.
I’m grateful that I’m in a situation where I can get by without the additional money. While we are definitely feeling the pinch, I know that my kids are safe. Too many women are barely making it on what they do get every month. Most would not be able to make the choice for safety over money.
I’m grateful that Jen and Will still get excited about a new pair of jeans from Goodwill. I’m grateful that they’ve learned how to live with their belts tightened. That will serve them well, long after their father and I are done dealing with each other.
(I am aware that many would think that we must not have much of a financial struggle if we are able to enjoy skiing. Up until this recent move, their father made it possible for them to continue skiing, because that was one of the few things that he actually wanted to do with his kids.)
I’m grateful to have an emotionally supportive partner stand by me as I continue to navigate this new mess from the narcissist. It’s not fair to have to drag him into this stuff, but it is all part of my colorful baggage. I’m also grateful that Jen and Will know that he has their backs as much as he has mine.
In the meantime, this “No Contact” thing might be the best Christmas present ever.
Oh, and there’s karma.