Understanding Today's Narcissist
Understanding Today's Narcissist

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Christine Hammond Interviews Chris and Lisa, Part 2

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Christine Hammond Interviews Chris and Lisa, Part 2

...some abuses dangerously obvious. Whileother types of abuse creep into our family DNA in covert ways, keepingfamily secrets, intimidation, the silent treatment and cyber bullying arejust a few examples of the many forms of abuse with troubling outcomes. Oftenvictims ask why did this happen to me or what can I do while abusers willexcuse their behavior, asking why do you make me do this, victims andabusers can rewrite their stories, improve their relationships and breakthe cycle for their future generations. In Christine Hammond's latest book,abuse exposed, you will learn the wide range of types of abuse, both overt andcovert the generational links to abuse, what to do before, during and afterabuse, how to confront your abuser, how to talk to a victim of rape, findingforgiveness despite the pain, how to rewrite your story and avoid futureproblems and much much more. Look for Christine Hammond's latest book abuseexposed now available on amazon. This is understanding today's Narcissistbrought to you in part by psych central dot com and now here's your host,Christine Hammond. Alright, well welcome back and today we're gonna betalking with Christine lisa and I came across them a while ago on theirwebsite, been there got out dot com and they have this amazing story which waspart of another podcast episode. They should go back and listen to theirstory and today we're gonna be talking about co parenting with a narcissistand both chris and lisa have very...

...different journeys that they havewalked through. And so I'm gonna let each of you share like where you're atwith your X. Right now in the co parenting standpoint and then we'lltalk about some tips because there's two different ways that this can go andyou guys have both extremes at this point, so lisa, why don't you sharewith us? Like what's going on with co parenting with your narcissistic? Ijust want to laugh when you say that. But um so my kids have basically beenpretty much no contact from the minute he walked out of the house, what was ittook a year for my divorce to happen? But in the very beginning my wonderfuland I'm saying that seriously, I had a wonderful divorce attorney, he advisedme to go to mediation. He said you're not going to get everything done but dowhat you can. And so the thing that I did in mediation was the parenting plan.I didn't realize at the time, but I was really lucky because I hear thesehorror stories every single day about custody battles, you know, and theseabusers use the kids as pawns because they know that's you know what theother parent cares about the most. But in my case. But in my situation inmediation out of the legal field before we got there, my extra said, okay, youknow the kids are going to stay with you so that's no problem, but we'regoing to have joint legal custody now. Later my lawyer was like, oh we shouldnever, the mediator should have caught that. This was like a different kind ofsituation. But so we have joint legal custody and I had sole physical custody.But my ex thought that he would do some kind of nesting thing where he wouldcome stay with us on the weekends. He convinced me when he needed to use thestove because he didn't have one in his apartment that he would just come overand cook. And that that he and I were going to date. He actually thought wewere going to date. That's what yeah, so, but anyway, he didn't didn't workout that way anyway. He as soon as the kids knew we were getting divorced andwhy they didn't want to speak to him.

So the parenting plan was ready. Iagain, this wonderful divorce attorney said I want to take a look at that andI want to do the language for it. And one of the things he put in there wasthis protective language which said that visitation, even though there wasno specific schedule, you know, it was like free and open access any time,which I think a lot of people would think is a nightmare. But but we hadthat in there again. This clever divorce attorney said let's leave that.But what we're going to put is that one tiny parenthetical comment about howvisitation will start. It's going to depend on the wishes of the Childrenand their therapists. Oh saved my life and saved my kid's life because therewas a gatekeeper. My kids immediately went into therapy. I got excellenttherapist, took a few therapists sometimes. But in the beginning my exof course was like, I want to, you know, I want to talk to the kids. He had nosense of empathy towards their feelings, their confusion there shocked aboutwhat had happened and all he was concerned about is I'm getting my kidsback in, the therapist said, no, we're going to take some time. The kids aregoing to take the time they meet and he wasn't in control anymore. And so again,my my kids were really shielded from a lot of his behavior and I am sograteful to my divorce attorney for knowing that that was going to happen.That was great foresight on his part. So Chris you have a very different,very different and lisa and a lot of times we used to say who's got it worse.You know, she's got to be a parent of single parent all the time. So like Iget a break, I'm about 5050 but of course I've got other issues because Ido share parenting responsibilities and there are a handful of things in mydivorce agreement. We call the stipulation here in new york that Idon't like. And one of those is the relatively narrow but important set ofareas where she has final decision making her it's all about power. Youknow, like education and medical and...

...stuff like that. It hasn't come upoften, but when it has it's been a challenge. And for her it's all aboutpower and control and she does exactly what we talked about. Getting to methrough the kids, You know, having them, you know, not be allowed to playcertain sports, they're going to play the sport she wants them to play. AndI'm a dad, you know, they're boys and I'm a dad, you know, that kind of thing.She gets me that way, but you know, at this point practice acceptance. Youknow, and I worry about the things I can control or influence, but not thethings I can't. So part of it is mental. One thing that has worked really wellrecently, my kids are older now. There's 17 and 14. They were 10 andseven when we split. So it's been a while. Um, there are a handful ofthings that my ex does. She has, she's very explosive. She's mean, um, sherips other people, um, makes fun of people. There's, and, and she's alwaysbeen that way and I was able to see some examples of that kind of behaviorthat I knew my kids saw. Now I had I sat them down and I talked with themand I said, you know when mom's, when, when you're with mom, she makes therules. I don't want to interfere with that. When you're with me, I don't wanther interfering here, but I will just let you know that I've observed thisbehavior and it's not okay. We don't act that way. We're not mean, We don'tmake fun of people. You know, it's it's been, it was like three or fourdifferent topics. Um, and the details aren't important, but just thatstrategy of, and I could see my kids have like a look of relief on theirface. You know, like it was almost like validating what they already felt like.Here's my other parent is behaving this way and they didn't say this. I'mreading into it, but it's like they knew it wasn't okay. And to hear itfrom me to confirm their feelings, it looked like it was a big relief to them.So I love that strategy and anybody in that situation and you need, the kidsneed to be a little bit older I think. But you know, I love that and I'm goingto continue to use it. Yeah, ideally,...

...you know, we always want as um, forhealthy co parenting for the rules to be consistent right from bothhouseholds, from one to another. But when you're dealing with a narcissist,that's virtually impossible. And so I like how you handle that situation andjust said, these are the rules here and while you're here, this is what we'regoing to be as opposed to pointing the finger and trying to say this person isterrible. Don't listen to this other parent like that kind of thing. It'sabout behavior, not about the other person, right? Yes. Always focusing onthe behavior not the other person. So lisa your challenges are quitedifferent because you are a single parent. You have an absentee X. I knowthat there are people listening right now that would give their right arm forthat situation. So like educate them as to like some of the challenges thatyou've had because of this. Okay, so in the beginning it was really hardbecause the kids uh you know, they my ex was unmasked right before their eyesone night, you know? Well I thought it was I I learned later that there werethings that they knew well before we split that I I hadn't realized theyknew, but I felt like it was a huge shock to them and they, in that firstweek after he left or I finally got him out, they emailed him and called them.He was still so in the throes of his online fantasy affair that he didn'trespond to them. And after those few days they were they had been so hurtthat they wanted nothing to do with him. And so since then he has been trying toget back in their lives and blame me, accused me of parental alienation.Again, my kids were older when we split, they were already teenagers. So therewas nothing I could have said. I didn't have to say anything. They madejudgments based on how he treated them,...

...but he's unable to see that his brokenrelationship as are the consequences of his failure to parent. You know, therewere several, he had so many opportunities to be part of their livesand he chose not to, but as so in some ways, yeah, I know I'm the lucky onebecause I don't have the toxic influence over my kids, but it wasreally hard to get my kids to get to the point of going no contact because Icouldn't say, you know, stop talking to look how awful he is. Instead it got tobe like those first two years, there was a lot of breadcrumb ng, you knowwhat that is, where he give like little little bits of affection and it wasalways like he'd say stuff, but the actions were the opposite. So they hada hard time just like we do in these relationships. Like, well he says heloves me, but he's but I feel bad all the time. You know, like why is thatthey went through because Children are not just witnesses to domestic abusetheir victims. So they were victimized as well emotionally by what he did. Andat some point, especially with my son. Um, you know, they only saw their dadlike since in these past seven ish years, they've only seen their dad likeless than five times. And, and a lot of that was him, never never showing upeither. But they, when my son would come back from the last couple of timesof seeing seeing his dad, he would be like furious at me and acting outmiserable. And I finally said, is he, do you ever notice like how you areafter you see your dad, like he makes you, you seem, I didn't say he makesyou said you seem like you're miserable and angry. Sorry, there's a landscaperright out. Um, like what, why do you, what are you getting out of thisrelationship? Like what, how is he supporting you? And that questionreally made my son think about it. I didn't have to say stop seeing him. Butyou know, again, he was an older...

...teenager at that point and he finallywas like, you know what? I think I'm done And and he made that choice. Andmy son actually yesterday just did a podcast with somebody talking aboutwhat it was like to be the son of a narcissistic father. Now, now he's 21years old, so he's, we don't have to worry about anything with custody andlegal. But yeah, it's really fascinating, you know? But I would say, even though we as parents are soterrified that our kids are gonna be destroyed for life, it's not true andthey are affected, but they get certain strengths along the way from having todeal with this at an early age. I want to go back to what you were sayingbefore about how kids are just witnesses of abuse, but their victimsas well. And I think one thing that happens is a lot of time people stay ina toxic relationship, you know, for the kids, you know, I'm gonna wait till thekids go to college and then I'll leave. What you're doing is you're modelingfor them. That that kind of treatment that that abuse is okay, it's normaland that really doing your kids a big disservice and I think one of the mostwonderful things about lisa and I getting together now for over six yearsis my kids now are seeing and her kids also are seeing what a real, healthyloving relationship is, is like a new normal for that, right? Retrainingtheir brains and my son has had a girlfriend for the past year and a half,and they remind me of us because they're really good friends and theylaugh a lot and they argue. Sometimes they'll debate, I mean they actuallyargue more than we do, but they'll debate about stuff, they're both reallyinto debate, but I see like a real friendship and I'm so glad that he'slearned that I know he's learned that from us, That sounds great. So whatadvice would you give to a person who is in the middle of trying to co parentwith a narcissist and they're just literally wanting to pull their hairout and I want you to do it from your...

...own like situations too. Like whatadvice chris would you give in at least a you. So um the thing I said beforeyou try that trick right about just saying, you know, you can only controlwhat's going on in your house, make sure that your rules your relationship,you're on your parenting time is as healthy as possible. You know, alsolearn how to communicate effectively with your ex and that's really, reallyhard, right? And you're not going to get your way. But there are things youcan do, like you can maybe learn that if you stroke their ego or if you youknow something that's hard, I don't want to stroke my ex's ego, I want totell her to go jump in a lake, but think about ways you can communicate toat least mitigate the damage and get things as close to healthy as you can.Absolutely, I I would agree that that's really important and lisa what wouldyou say from like your standpoint, what advice would you give? Somebody who'sgoing through a similar situation to you? You know, that is actually thenumber one question that we got from our community. When I posted that therewould be a college student talking about his experience with anarcissistic parents, women in particular said, what can we do hisparents to help our Children going through that? And I'm actually gonnapull from what my son himself suggested. He said that what helped him the mostwas that I really pushed him to get out there and do different activities andit helped him to sort of develop himself as a human being and not bedefined by just this terrible experience in his family. And he alsolearned by getting out there. He met a lot of people that became his mentors,not just male figures, but certainly male father figures that he has beenable to lean on through the years, who have taught him all different aspectsof life. And my son is very successful, you know, academically, he's got thesegreat internship, he's still in college, but he's like a champion debater andhe's won all kinds of things, was his...

...high school graduation speaker. And allof these achievements have taught him like that, he can feel good abouthimself, and that part of his life doesn't matter that much good. That'salso perfect. I love the advice that both of you have given on this. So Iwant you to share with everybody a little bit about your website and whatyou have available for other parents who might be struggling right now.Absolutely. So, as you know, when you're in a narcissistic relationshipand you're the light bulbs just going on, you're figuring out what theproblem is from there to that happy life once you're out. And if you'relucky enough to find true healthy love as lisa that I have found there are alot of steps and so we try to help anybody that wherever they are in theirprocess. And we have a bunch of workshops have been there, got out dotcom, there's an enrolled now you can go see the different workshops that areavailable to recorded and they're very inexpensive. We are recently focused onthe legal area. So we started a legal abuse support group. You can see itright on our homepage, there's a little red button, you can learn all about itthere. And we're also getting into the area of high conflict divorce coaching.So that's where we feel like we can have the biggest impact. That's wherecustody decisions are made, that's where a lot of financial decisions aremade as well. But one thing that we forgot to say is that separate from allof this chris recently put together this thing we call our wall of hope Andwe've had people from all over the world. All different types of people doa 32nd-1 minute video. And it's a response to the question, how has yourlife visibly improved since getting out of a toxic relationship? So whereeveryone who's still in it are struggling. It just shows you a coupleof couples have done it, but mostly just individuals, men and women, mostlywomen, but men too about how much better it is on the other side, just togive that hope to people who feel like we once did like this, is it like thisis all I'm ever going to get. It's not true. I love that. Well, thank you somuch presently for joining us and...

...please check out their website at beenthere got out dot com. Thanks so much for having us Christine. Thank you.Thanks for listening to understanding today's narcissist with ChristineHammond brought to you in part by psych central dot com. For more information,visit grow with Christine dot com.

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