Understanding Today's Narcissist
Understanding Today's Narcissist

Episode · 5 months ago

Part 3 of an interview with Dr. Nadine Macaluso, LMFT

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Part 3 of an interview with Dr. Nadine Macaluso, LMFT    

nmacaluso1@me.com                                  

Restoring Resilience

https://www.nadinemacaluso.com/

Some abuse is dangerously obvious, while other types of abuse creep into our family DNA in covert ways, keeping family secrets, intimidation, the silent treatment and cyber bullying are just a few examples of the many forms of abuse with troubling outcomes. Often victims ask why did this happen to me, or what can I do, while abusers will excuse their behavior asking why do you make me do this? Victims and abusers can rewrite their stories, improve their relationships and break the 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 and covert, the generational links to abuse, what to do before, during and after abuse, how to confront your abuser, how to talk to a victim of rape, finding forgiveness despite the pain, how to rewrite your story and avoid future problems and much, much more. Look for Christine Hammond's latest book, abuse exposed, now available on Amazon. This is understanding today's narcissist, brought you in part by Psych Centralcom and now here's your host, Christine Hammond. I welcome back. This is part three with Dr Nay and I am so excited to talk about this little segment with her because she has such a unique story. But we are going to talk about co parenting today and what it's like to have to co parent with a narcissist. This is probably one of my most frequently asked questions when people email me, is how can they do this and do it well? And so I'm going to like just...

...get you started on it, like tell us like a little bit about the story of what it was like having to Co parent with Jordan. Okay, sure, thanks, Christine. Thank you for having me again. So, yeah, my story is a little different in the sense that narcissists are, you know, they all want power and control, so of course they're going to want power and control over parenting, even though they're not really interested in being actual parents. And so that was my issue. Not Forget that problem. Yes, yeah, well, that's not for good that. So that was my should with Jordan because when before I'd left him, my daughter was in her tools and so she was acting out, of course, and he would not chastise her or give her boundaries, and so I went to my thropes at the time and I said, God, I'm trying to like have Jordan, you know, help me be a parent. She said, want to talk to him. So let me tell you how great that went. So I went back and talk to him to listen chandlers too. I really need you to help me. Goes, sorry, I can't do that. I mean he literally said that, wow, why I can't do that. So I went back to I was like, you got any mother other ideas? So at that point I realize I was on my own, but apparently right, and which was fine in a way, because he really didn't want to parent. He just wanted to be their friend, and that's still continues. I mean they had Disney Dad, yeah, and I had a Disney Dad. So he just didn't want to do that, and so it kind of worked out for us. But then he did get arrested, right, and so I was very lucky that sense, because that really took a lot of his power away, and a lot of your listeners don't have that luxury. Correct they have to deal with them right, and my boat, my feeling around that is here's the thing. If you think it, a person only wants power and control. They do, you know, they're very going to be very hard, frustrating to do with. Because they don't really want to parent, but they only want power and control. And so I understand...

...why it's a conundrum. But I think that you, like the person who is the parent, usually the mother, learn about parenting, become educated about how to be a great parent, so you feel competent in your parenting abilities, because they will challenge them. I mean, Jordan could convince me I'm wrong about something that I just read a minute ago. Right, right, and so, because there's so such quick talkers and they manipulate and so. But if you feel really educated about parenting and how you want to parent and what your values are around parenting, and when they challenge you, you can hopefully stick to them and knock get knocked back and think that you're wrong just because they're telling you you're wrong. Right. Right. How old were your kids when you went through the divorce? So my children were three and five. So they were very young, very young, very very young, and we and we moved to California because I did not want them to deal with that legacy in New York. I didn't think that that was their responsibility. And at that point I think Jordan was in jail, I think. Yes, and when they were that young. I just said he was on a business trip because they were too young. They didn't need to imagine their dad in jail, right, you know. And then he would call them and then he did get out of jail and then he moved to California and I was very nice to him at that point and we had fifty custody, but he didn't he didn't really have them fifty percent of the time and and we would certainly have challenges with parenting, for sure, but I knew what I was able to hold my boundaries and be strong. So for those people who are going through the divorce process, like one of the frustrating things I hear from a lot of my clients is that they're afraid of like a fifty custody...

...and and what I've tried to explain to them, and maybe you can talk to them a little bit, a little about this as well, like, even though they say they want fifty, they don't ever really do it. Right now, just give it to them, you know, just give it to them, because they just want to feel like they win. And so right, so you win on the paper, but they are not going to wake up every day and make breakfast and make lunch and take to doctors appointments and densist appointments and soccer and deal with the cleeds and deal with the homework where I can, and growing up in the middle of the night right there, there's no way they're going to do that. So you know, the thing about it too, is you, I think from not from me and a lot of the women that I work with. As much as their ex husband was controlling them, there was a piece of them that was con was controlling a little bit too, and so you just have to release that. You have to make your decisions based upon you not anticipating what they're going to do, what they're going to say, how they're going to react, because you will never know, right. So why waste your energy or mind right right? So do what you want to do and then see what happens, because I can't pay. I love that advice for them, because that that's often what they're doing and they're kind of conditioned right within the marriage to do that. And that's the problem and in the reason why therapy is so important, because in the marriage their condition that if they do fill in the blank, then there won't be a consequence of an eruption or a rant or whatever kind of abusive behavior comes afterwards. That's that's so right and that that's that conditional regard. You know, like it. Behave well, you'll get the reward. Will guess what, as you saw, there's no reward, right. There's no reward ever coming your way now. So don't fall for it and anticipate that they'll be difficult and be ready for it. Right, but it's your children, and you know, I had cry as I say this.

I mean I'm the most beautiful relationship with my children and they're wonderful. They're my best friends for twenty, twenty six, and if I could do it, you could do it. MMM MMM right. So, so what was it really like? Like that CO parenting aspect of it? Like, obviously the even though he's like not really showing up or not doing all the things that he's supposed to, you're winding up with more, but I'm sure there were arguments and fights along the way. Yeah, so talk a little bit about how you manage that. Yeah. So, I mean the one thing about a narcissist, well, there's so many, but the one thing that I'm going to pertain to this topic is that if you have a child that has special needs or you feel like could be on the spectrum, or you feel like as Adhd, and you bring that to the narcissist. Now, remember they think everybody's an extension of them. So their own children, they're going to go knots right. It's fact that they're going to fight you on this. Yep, that with this, with my son, he's lovely and he's a rapper, but definitely school was not made for him. So I wanted him to get a neuropsych evaluation. Well, you would have thought I said to Max as when I want to cut his arm off. Now. Now, you fought me every single bit of the way, but I just got around it. Yeah, you know, and don't be afraid that they're going to catch you and take you to court. Be Smart, you know, do what you need to do. Reach out to the professionals you need to reach out to and if you can't say it, have the professionals say it to them, and have a lot of professionals around, because, remember, they do want a good image, right, so they might acquiesce to a professional, but yet they I just would always get around it and still take and I just didn't listen right. Honestly, I didn't listen. He didn't go to control me anymore. I was like, okay, take me to court. I like you need never did, but I just don't. Don't take their word as Gospel. They're only people, right. So...

...how did it? What did you do with the kids? Like, how did you help them navigate having a dad like Jordan? Oh yeah, so, luckily for me, I grew up in a home where we discussed everything. I mean, if there was a crack on the wall, my mother would talk to me about it for four hours. So she was so I spoke to my children at nauseum about it. You know, how do you feel? What are you thinking? Is it hard to be with your dad? So, you know, what do you need? Like, you need to learn how to speak with him. And so, in a very developmentally appropriate way, as they got older and older, I told them about our lives and what we have gone through, and so when the movie came out, they didn't care. How old were they when you started to share with them some of that information? I would say once we moved to California, around six and eight MM. Yeah, and I would do it together right, so they could have each other, and I think that was a very important piece for them, was to have each other. And I never used my children, I never recognized my children good I was never a gatekeeper. I mean I really could have done that with Jordan, clearly, and nearly even know, but I just said, you know what, my mother never did that with my father, and so I learned that from her that, you know what, I have children with this man for whatever reason, a reason that I don't understand, and he is their father and I am accountable to that and I have to navigate this for them right, whatever that looks like. So I think that's such an important piece of it, because what I see a lot of clients trying to do is withhold the kids from the narcissistic spouse. And so talk a little bit about like your rationale for why not to do this. Yes, well, again, you know, I think, because I, you know, I a lot of things are learned,...

...behaviors right, and so my mother really was a great role model for me for that. And so what I would tell myself when he drive me Nutty, because of course that would happen, I would say, you know what needs you like this, this is their father, and we're in your in this, and you can't, you know, allow them to have a relationship with their dad and when they get older they get to decide with that relationship with right. Right. I'm not God right, you know, children come through me, but I don't own them and they have to have their own autonomy, and so I would, you know, and not to talk myself a ledge about that many, many days, you know, especially have an eighteen year old boy with a movie like the wolf of Wall Street. Yeah, that's not now. Now, it's very impressionable, but I let my let's go to the movie premiere, and a lot of my friends gave me, you know, prap for that. But I do know this is their father, this is their lives and it and it's all okay, hmm, you know, because it listen, if I would have kept my kids from him, then not keeps me in a war with him, right, and I don't want that. Right. I think that's a classic mistake that a lot of people make, that somehow you can protect the child from this person, but when that person is their father or their mother, like, you're not doing them any justice right by trying to keep them from it. You're actually creating a situation which they don't learn how to deal with it. And they need to learn how to deal with it. They need to learn how to do with it. And Jordan is a good dad. He has good relationship with his kids. They know that he's not like the emotional touchdoone right right. They've figured out what they can get from him, what they can right and they've navigated that relationship right and they've done it. Does it always been easy? No, but what parent child relationship is right, no matter who you're with. So yeah, I was just very lucky that I...

...was taught by my mother to do that. And you know, I'm my dad was a Disneyland Dad and a gambling addict and a thirty one. I was like, Guess What, Dad, I'm done with you. HMM. And I came to that on my own where. And so I've figured my kids are bright enough, I believe in them enough. They whatever they want, whatever they need, and if they don't feel comfortable with that relationship, when their adults sell, figure it out. So it did you have any resistance from your kids going to spend time with Jordan when they were younger? You know, Um, not really, not really. I mean, because what would happen when he when I first moved, is I had to send them for the summer and that was terrible. I mean I cried every single night, cried hysterically. Like I told some Aer, the kids had to go with him because I had they had me for the whole year. And so we do that. But then he ended up moving to California, so it was okay, and again he didn't have them a lot, MMM because he didn't want it. He would get sick them for a night on the weekend maybe, and that was okay. So I want you to talk to the mom right now who's facing that same scenario right because I have a lot of a lot of them. Who Do you face that same scenario where they have to turn over their kids to somebody for a whole summer or a month of his summer, and they're terrified and scared. Like, talk to them for a second. Yeah, so what I would want to say, what's really helped me through this process is realizing I cannot control everything and it would be grandiose of me to think that I could. And so what I use a lot with my patience is in the wizard of Oz when they she put surrender, Dorothys God, I always say surrender, let go, let's go, let go and you know, have faith, have hope that again, you had children with this man for a reason and you just this is part...

...of the process and you can't control everything and you have to let go for your children, because if you to keep acting very anxious and very frenetic around it, they will feel that. MMM, you know. So I'm I would like send them off calmly and then break down on my own. It wasn't their job to take care of me, and that's very important, not to not feel what you're feeling, of course, and validate that. But when they're not there, right, right, they do them. Yeah, you'll go, you'll have a great time, you'll have fun with your dad. You can always call me, you know, or I would sometimes I would like take bedtime stories for my kids and send them or like get little rocks and put them in a shoe box and put like a picture of our house and if they missed me, they could shake it. That is a right. Yes, it'll little ideas for them and for you. Like those are transitional objects for them. HMM. And they learned those summers I'm sure, and I don't know if they ever brush your teeth, but that's yeah, what what I say to my clients on that issue like is, well, you bring them back and you send him to the doctor, you send him to the dentist and let them like handle it all rather than you having to do that fight. Yes, because you can listen. Here's the thing. There are repercussions to divorce, right, and I remember when I first told my ex US when I was leaving him, and I love holidays and I love cooking for them and making a big to do with them, and I thought, wow, I must really hate you that I'm willing to give up my kids for Thanksgiving. HMM. But there are repercussions and we have to tolerate that, right, oration from them, and it does get easier. And then then you could help you when they go, because you have some free time. Right. It actually becomes good, right, because that now you're taking care of yourself, right, and you learn how to take care of yourself during those times. Yeah, that you might wind up neglecting...

...at other points and times and it pays back in diffidends. Right, like you said, you have a great relationship with your kids. Yeah, and you know that it does. When they and then when they come back, when you're replenished, you're refreshed, your resource to get you'll be better to deal with them. M I listen, if something major comes up, of course you're going to deal with it. I mean you're not going to not protect your children. But, you know, let's let's not anticipate the that's going to happen and let's wait for facts. Right, I'm what it happens, just no, just like you got away from them, you'll handle it. So that's that's what will happen, right, right, I love that. So like any kind of parting thoughts or ideas for people who are trying to Co parent with a narcissist and it's not going well for them, what would you recommend that they do? Well, the first thing I would recommend that they do is they have realistic expectations. I mean, the narcissist didn't listen to you when you were married to them. You're certainly they're certainly not going to listen to you when you're divorcing them, okay, and so to expect that they will be difficult and expect that they won't listen to you. But I think that if you loosen your need for control and don't kind of play into their game, it'll go a lot smoother, because once they realize they can't get a rise of you, they can't really manipulate you. Do the children. They lose their power, they get dis interested, right and not usually does happen. I know it sounds scary to hold that, but give it a try and see what happens. Yeah, when then here once you're no longer a source of attention for them, so they have to get their feeding somewhere. So they will move on to the next person, target, however you want to call it. And, by the way, they will always screw up. Yes, right, they they don't have impulse control,...

...right, so they will usually screw up in some way. And here's the thing. It's all going to be okay. And I know you know. When you've lived with the narcissists, you have this internal threat response. Just if you get a text from them or earn email and just take a teep breath, read the email, bring your prefrontal cortexhin. I'm right, I'm handle it and you can handle it, and I'm living proof. But that you can handle it well. Thank you so much. I really have enjoyed talking with you over these last three series and just tell everybody how they can reach out to you if they'd like to find out more about you. Sure you can go to my website and Adine macalusocom or my instagram at Medine Macaluso and Dr Nay Great. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thanks for listening to understanding today's narcissist with Christine Hammond brought to you in part by Psych Centralcom. For more information, visit grow with christinecom.

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