Kids visitation. He cancels all the time. And if he does not cancel, he is always late. I should not be surprised at his punctuality. He has always been someone who is late. Expecting him to be on time now is unrealistic. Lower the expectations.
He always communicates that he will be late. Sometimes a day in advance. Sometimes an hour. And never with an apology. Never with any respect towards my plan. I get it. This is one of the only ways he knows he can get under my skin. It is my big red button that I cannot seem to hide.
I have read a lot about communicating with a narcissist. I even started a list in the back of my journal called “Things to Remember”. It includes things like:
- I will not change him.
- Stand my ground.
- Do not engage on every comment.
- Keep answers factual (yes or no).
- Set firm boundaries.
- Stop doing favours for him. Stick to the “plan”.
- If it isn’t ok, say so.
- He will never behave the way I want. (Never has).
- Be prepared. See him coming.
- Stay silent as much as possible. Minimize contact.
- Most narcissists aren’t good parents. He will not keep the children’s best interests in mind.
- He is a liar.
- He won’t accept blame for anything. Although he will offer excuses, he will never be remorseful. Do not allow apologies to cloud my judgement.
- Do not try to reason with him.
- Remain calm.
- He will project. Do not take it personally.
- He hates the loss of control.
- Attempts to co-parent with him will be an ongoing battle.
- Focus only on what I have to the power to control.
- Accept that all this can be exhausting.
These are only the ones I thought pertinent to this posting. There are more. It does not escape me that many of these are contradictory to each other.
The challenge is that he continues to use work as his reason for not seeing the kids or for being late. He has always used work to distance himself from his family. Again, I should not be surprised. He travels a lot. He lies a lot. He says he is traveling for work when really it is vacation. He says he is going to be late because of work when really he is having dinner first with his girlfriend.
My list states to not engage. When you engage in confrontation with a narcissist, you feed their ego. But my list also states that I should set boundaries. So if I tell him it is not acceptable for him to be late, trying to set boundaries, I am also engaging with him. Feeding his ego. Letting him know that he has pushed my big red button. If I do not communicate this, I am not engaging with him, not letting him see how upset I am. But I am also not setting boundaries. I also feel that the message behind not engaging is that I am letting him believe it is ok for him to act this way. That I condone his behaviour. What’s a girl to do?
Rock. Me. Hard Place.
This is my new reality. He will never be punctual. He will always be disrespectful to me. While I do not condone his behaviour, there is nothing I can do about it. I cannot change him. I have to accept this for what it is. Crap.
I have to let this all go.