Understanding Today's Narcissist
Understanding Today's Narcissist

Episode 17 · 2 years ago

7 Ways to Protect Your Kids from Your Narcissistic Ex

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Sabrina was at her wit’s end. Her narcissistic ex-husband hit an all-time low. During their marriage, she was the target for his angry rants, verbal assaults, gaslighting, and guilt-tripping. But now his attacks seemed to center around just one of their two kids. Unfortunately, it was their ten-year-old child who most resembled Sabrina’s personality that was his new target. Their twelve-year-old child seemed to escape his scrutiny despite the recent in-school suspension and two failing grades.

But it was the ten-year-old who was quiet, generally compliant, and rarely got into trouble that Sabrina’s ex attacked. Sabrina watched in horror as her child shut down, became unnecessarily anxious, was newly fearful, and depressed. Afraid that her child would become like her, Sabrina knew she had to speak to him. However, the last time she confronted him, he slapped her with a motion to modify parenting agreement accusing her of parental alienation.

So, what could she do?

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...to grow with Christine Dot com forward slash narcissism. That's grow with Christine dot com, forward slash narcissism. This master class will change your life again. That's grow with Christine Dot Com. Forward Slash Narcissism. This is understanding today's narcissist, brought to you in part by Psych Centralcom and now here's your host, Christine Hammond. Today I want to talk about different ways that you can protect your kids from your narcissistic x. So I've had a lot of requests for things like this, mostly because people go through a really rough time after...

...they've divorced the narcissists. They think that everything is over with and things are going to get better, and yet, oof, it's sometimes actually gets worse. So let's talk about Sabrina. She was at her wits and her narcissistic ex husband had actually hit this all time low. During their marriage. She was the target for all of his angry rants, his verbal salts, his gas lighting and Gilt tripping, but now his attacks seemed to center around just one of their two kids. This is very common. Unfortunately, it was their ten year old child who, not so ironically, most resembled Sabrina's personality and became thus his new target. Their twelve year old child seemed to escape his scrutiny, despite the recent in school suspension and too, failing great, but it was a ten year old who was quiet, generally compliant and rarely got into any trouble that Sabrina's ex started to attack. Sabrina watched in horror...

...as her child shut down even more, became unnecessarily anxious, was newly fearful and even depressed, afraid her child would become like her. Putting up with him for years, Sabrina knew she had to speak up to him. However, the last time she confronted her ex, he slapped her with emotion to modify the parenting agreement, accusing her of parental alienation. Super Simple tactic that a lot of narcissists actually do. So what can she do in this situation? She didn't want to be like him in file even more motions, requesting hearings to handle their child. Besides which, the last time they were in core, he just seemed to woo the judge, getting even more than his fair share. So Sabrina needed a different approach. Her Protective Instincts wanted to keep her child away from him even more, but she knew that this is going to end in absolute disaster for her in her child. So instead,...

Sabrina decided on a very different strategy and we're going to talk about exactly what she did. So these are seven ways that you can protect your kids from your narcissistic X. Unfortunately, Sabrina story is a very common one and I hear it all the time from my clients. It's really sad, but remember, Narcissis have a tendency to pick one kid out as the golden child and, despite everything else, the golden child gets to get away with everything, while the forgotten child gets pretty much the brunt of all of the anger or the ranting and everything else that goes along with it. So let's talk about seven ways that you can protect your kid from your narcissistic x if you are finding yourself with this dilemma. Number one, you gotta realize that they're not going to change. Even Sabrina caught herself thinking, why can't he just do this one thing differently? Just because there was a divorce and the kids are...

...hurting, it doesn't mean the narcissist is actually going to gain any insight or claim any responsibility. That is really worth repeating. Just because there was a divorce and the kids are hurting, it doesn't mean the narcissist will gain any insight or claim any responsibility. They didn't change in the marriage and they're not going to change in divorce. Remembering that this limitation exists help Sabrina to put things into perspective and into a clearer focus. She needed to do some changing and she needed to change what she could change and ignore the rest. So the very first step is you gotta realize is they are not going to change. Number two, you got to work with the narcissism and not against it.

Knowing that her ex loved attention and being admired, Sabrina told him that their daughter admired him and wanted to spend even more one on one time with him. Of course, she had to share this idea with her daughter beforehand and get her approval for the verbage that she was going to use. But this worked. It actually stroked his ego, so he actually wanted to engage more with their daughter. So the daughter had to be bought into it, and you can buy into a child with this without saying that the parent is narcissistic. Please don't do that. They will alienate the child from the parent and the parent will use that against you. So you can work with the narcissism and not against it without telling your child all of what you were doing. Number three got to use the hamburger method. We've talked about this before.

The hamburger method is a way of communicating that makes receiving criticism easier. The ingredients are simple. You compliment, which is the bund that usually has sugar and salt on the flavor. You confront, which is the meat, and then you complement again, which is yet another bun. Think of it as a spoonful of sugar. Helps them at us and go down, because the narcissistic ego needs regular stroking. This works nearly every time. So you, when you do have to confront the NARCISSISTS, make sure you're using the hamburger method. Teach the kids to do the same. It is a nice, polite way of confronting people that will be useful to them, regardless of whether they're doing with a narcissist or just a problem chilo on the playground. Number four, ignore threats instead of being paralyzed or retraumatized by his threats, and he did it often because he kept threatening to take her back to court. Sabrina had to overlook his comments when the narcissist feels like they are losing...

...in some way, they will make threatening statements. Sometimes these are benign, they're not really going to do anything and nothing actually comes from the threat. Other Times something really does come from the threat and it's a fullblown attack. Past behavior and marriage is the best judge of this, and divorce. So whatever they did in the past, they're likely to do it again. Remember, a narcissist don't learn, and so they just repeat the same pattern over and over again. But you're better off ignoring the threats and not engaging in them. Number five, model healthy behavior. Sabrina knew that her interaction with her ex was being watched intensely by their kids, as especially their daughter. They were looking instinctively for what worked and what doesn't worked. Kids naturally study their parents so that they can get what they want. Sabrina began discussions with a smile, a good attitude and a calm demeanor with her ex. Even...

...when he escalated, Sabrina lowered her vocal register, so you're talking more quietly, speaking more slowly and breathe deeply. This helped her to present, keep present and not slip into survival mode. Getting triggered from the past, because once that survival mode is triggered, reasoning becomes far more difficult when the automatic response a fight, flight, freeze or feint actually kicks in. So Sabrina had to model healthy behavior for her kids. Number six. Don't tolerate abusive behavior. One of the reasons Sabrina sought divorce was that her ex had been very abusive. Now that she was away from it, she realized that her daughter was getting the brunt of it. Unfortunately, the abuse was so subtle that it hurt her daughter and it was not even reportable, so there was...

...no marks or anything like that that she could report to anybody. Sabrina stopped tolerating his abuse and she also needed to teach her daughter to do the same thing. Barring the idea from a superhero movie, Sabrina and her daughter designed an imaginary force field that could be debated any time her daughter felt unsafe. It is a protective bubble that surrounds her daughter so that she can see out, but yet nothing can get in. This allowed the attacks to be seen, but they would only get an arms lent distance before they actually bounced off. Her daughter loved the idea and even drew a picture of it so she could remember her new superpower whenever she needed it. That's how we don't tolerate the abusive behavior. Number seven, avoid embarrassment. Knowing that our x hated to be embarrassed, Sabrina use this fear to encourage him to engage more with their daughter. She talked to him about a dad that her x new and...

...felt competitive with. Then she told him about how the other dad had taken his daughter out to a fancy restaurant and the theater, getting all dressed up and formal. A tire. Within a week, her acts that arranged for him and his daughter to fly to New York City to see her favorite Broadway show and stay at an upscale hotel. This simple trip when a long way and helping their relationship to improve and gave her daughter a good memory with her dad. So, because her ex hated to be embarrassed, Sabrina use that against him in order to get her daughter something that she wanted. So at first Sabrimana felt uncomfortable with these technis, but after she had some success and they continue to work for her in her kids, she kept at it. Better yet her kids actually learn some new skills and felt more comfortable during their time with her dad. So remember the seven steps. Number One, realize...

...they won't change. Number to, work with the narcissism and not against it. Number three, use the hamburger method. Number for, ignore the threats. Number five, model healthy behavior. Number six, don't tolerate abusive behavior and, most importantly, number seven, avoid embarrassment. These are the ways that I teach my client to help their kids. Please, once again, don't use the word narcissist when you're talking about your ex even though they might be one, because we don't want to cause another litigation battle with your narcissistic expouse. Thanks for listening to understanding. Today's narcissist with Christine hand brought to you in part by Psych Centralcom. For more information, visit grow with Christine...

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