I read. A lot. I used to read books. Novels. Now I read websites. Self-help pages. Websites about divorce, communication and narcissism.
Ask any ex-wife and I would bet she would say that her ex-beloved is a narcissist. I do. And while sometimes I wonder if maybe I have created this monster in my head, born out of anger, sadness and bitterness; I truly think he is a narcissist. I read somewhere the other day that although a man may not display narcissistic tendencies during a marriage, that the stress of a divorce often can push a man over the edge. Where in the marriage he was simply self-centred (and maybe a bit controlling) he now becomes deceitful, manipulative and unfair.
It is a lot to handle.
I’ve read a lot about how to communicate with a narcissist. I wish I could find the link to an article I read a few months ago. It was brilliant. The writer of the article was a woman who had divorced her narcissistic husband, but she found communication very challenging. And then one time she took his email he had sent to her and re-wrote it. She took all the hundreds of words he used to express himself and pared it down to less words, getting straight to the point and clarifying what was between the lines.
Yesterday I received an email that brought all the emotions flooding back. He was pulling on my heart strings. I was feeling badly. I was feeling conflicted. What was I going to write back? Was I really being unreasonable? And then I gave my head a shake. I used her trick and re-wrote the email, highlighting what I thought he was really trying to say. My interpretation is below in italics. Although I was tempted to edit his original email, to do so would not convey the length and depth of his emails. I have changed some key details for privacy of course.
It may be a bit tongue in cheek, but for sure it will make you smile. Enjoy!
**some back ground info for context: ex-beloved left, did not get an apartment for himself, moved directly in with his girlfriend whom our children have still yet to meet, cancels vacation time and weekends with the kids (only sees them two weekends a month) and cannot (will not) reschedule but manages to take trips with her instead, all the while lying about pretty much every minute detail.
Sorry for the super long email. I am waving the white flag. Your emails about the kids cut right to my soul and leave me in tatters. I am not sure if that is your intention, or you are just calling out your concerns as directly as you see fit, but either way – I need to let you know. I would like to please work on a less confrontational approach together. I hope you can consider. I would like to, especially when it comes to the children.
Here is a long email from me. I hope that it wears you down and makes you feel overwhelmed. Do you see my white flag? I am trying to distract you with it. You see that I am not making the kids a priority and have called me out on it. I wonder if you know the truth about all my lies. Please stop giving me a hard time. I am only doing what makes me happy.
OK, here we go – again apologies – while rereading it – it is really long.
OK, are you overwhelmed yet? Emotional?
I have discussed my one night a week with the kids. For the time being, I suggested that once school starts, my one night per week become a dinner together and not an overnight. I miss them a lot between my weekends and want to see them, yet I know it is not ideal for them to stay at my brother’s place with me (not sleeping well, homework, next morning drop offs – these are their comments to me). They agreed and seem very happy with this suggestion. It will reduce any feelings of being overwhelmed with options, and for the time being, probably best for them. No problem with this night moving to another night.
The kids seem to agree that staying at my brother’s during the week does not work. Now I can stay at home in my own bed with my honey. Thanks for understanding. If I tell you that I miss the kids a lot, I think you might believe me. See my white flag? Is it distracting you from my actions?
In the above, I say “for the time being” because I very much want them staying with me, but this is a ways off. Before they would consider staying with me, a first step is meeting my girlfriend, and I think they should do so. A while back, you had offered to support this. I think it is better for them knowing they would meet her with your knowledge and approval. Please let me know your thoughts. If you are not comfortable in supporting this, which I understand, then I will come up with a plan / suggestion and share with you prior, then propose to the kids. I think we just need the initial meeting to have happen – it will take a lot of the mystery out of things for them. I am open to your suggestions and thoughts, I know this is a big topic for all.
It is time for the kids to meet my girlfriend, whom I live with, as you know. That way I will not have to divide my time between them all. Not that I am putting the kids first. Obviously. It would be great if you could figure out the logistics of all of this. I don’t want to.
I still plan on doing school drop offs, if they would like, and when I am not travelling. Our son has told me he is not doing early morning drop offs this year – so this would allow me to plan two mornings with later starts where I could take our daughter and then even walk with our son. Could you please confirm this is ok with you. I’ll put these in my agenda, and it would be great if you might ask them the ideal time on each of those days (typically) so to standardize it. If my schedule changes due to a work meeting, I’ll let you and them know in as advance as possible.
Waving the white flag still. Do I look like a good dad yet? You can be sure that I will cancel often but will let you know the morning of.
On some Tuesday nights I would like to come watch our son play hockey if I can make it. Can you pls share some details of his practices.
OK, so I offered. Is that good enough?
Regarding my weekends this Fall;
Work is really complicated and hard right now. More than ever and this Fall is going to be insane. I have spoken about it to the kids to give them some context of what I manage. They were very receptive and supportive. They clearly understand that although I am not living with you, I am still supporting all of us and work is a reality that sometimes I can’t bend.
Work comes first. Always has always will. The kids know you are a lazy mother and should be out getting a job so that I can stop giving you money.
Sunday Sept 13, I fly to the big UK city that evening, so will have to drop kids off around 4pm.
Oops. Have to bring the kids home early. I know you won’t mind. May as well bend over and lift your skirt too. I am providing all your money don’t forget.
Friday, October 9th, I am coming back from the big North American City at 9pm that night. I would like to pick the kids up Saturday morning if that is OK with you.
I will have been away from my girlfriend for a whole week. Have to get my rocks off first. Again, thanks for understanding and recognizing where your money comes from.
For the weekend of Oct 24/25 – I am away that week for travel from the Wednesday onwards. Would you be open to switching a weekend with me, and I could do the weekend prior (the 17 / 18). If not – I will have to organize something but my hope is that we can work on an alternative together.
I will switch me weekends. See, I want to be with the kids. And because I pay for your life, you will organize the babysitter, right? And have I distracted you enough with this email and the others that you have not figured out that this particular travel is actually a vacation week? I hope you don’t see through me. I deserve to take a vacation. Again. Without the kids. What more do you all want from me? And you know I have to lie about it right? You get so mad at me that I have no choice but to lie. It is all your fault.
For the weekend of the Nov 21 /22 I am away for that weekend and the whole following week dealing with production in Asia – back on the night of Friday the 27th. Would you please consider switching with me so I can see them on the 28/29 ?
Again $$ = you will do what I say.
For my birthday – I have to leave for the big UK city on Sunday Dec 6th – back on the 9th. So it is a non issue – we can share a meal another time.
Whatever. I am going to spend my birthday in London. Suckers.
For the Holidays – If I understand correctly you would like them with you the week of Christmas and I would take them the following week with me to the cottage. If so – I would pick them up on Monday morning the 28th please – because we might try to take my parents South, and the weekend of the 26/27 they are with you.
I have forgotten that our agreement says you have the kids for Christmas this year. Convenient that I can spend it with my girlfriend. We will probably take my parents to the Caribbean where my girlfriend’s parents have a place. You know, the one where I have been twice in the past 5 months. Hope you haven’t figured out that my trip in October is back to that place. Yes, this will be instead of spending time with the kids. Oh, and if our divorce is final by then we may as well get married at the same time. No issue with the fact that our kids have yet to met their step-mother to be.
March Break week looks good for now – but I will have to confirm later with you as I am unsure of my work travel right now.
March break? Fuck you really are busting my balls. I will say yes now but by the time all of my vacation time has been accounted for, there will be none left by then.
I will always do my best to see them. They are on my mind all the time. Work is entering a new reality as the company prepares for a big transition over the next 3 years. I have been promoted to a higher up position and my boss will take on new challenges. My package has yet to be offered to me, but I am hopeful it will be a bump in salary so that I can pay for the Kids School without depending on my parents, and pay off some of all the debt each month.
Good dad alert! See me! See me! You know work is the priority. It pays you, right? Good. I don’t want you to forget it. I got promoted and of course I will get a raise. But if I distract you enough, you won’t notice. Oh, and not only am I supporting you, but so are my parents.