Has anyone had experience with a Narcissistic ex-husband/coparent?

Jessica F. asks from Connellsville, PA
7 answers

Hi Mamas,

My and my exhusband were in a relationship for 7 years, on and off, even continued our relationship for a year after our divorce. I don’t know, I just always went back to him. It has ended permanently 9 months ago, and I feel that the abuse is worse than when we were together. And our sweet 4yo daughter is used has his pawn to hurt me since his new relationship started the week of our final breakup.

He basically ignores me at all costs. And won’t be logical or work with me on anything! I have full custody and he has visitation, a week a month.

He wouldn’t tell me the age of the child she shares a room with. He said it was none of my business if anyone lives there or not. He won’t respond about medical bills. It took me 3 months and a lawyer just to get her passport. He won’t let me talk to her while she’s there. Rescheduled most of his weeks but one in particular he rescheduled to take his girlfriend and her daughter to Disney would without our 4yo. Won’t tell me his childcare situation. Won’t tell me the contact information of his family if they watch her or if he takes her out of state. We traveled to meet him for 3 hours on Easter Sunday because Sunday was his day, he’s Jewish. Wouldn’t even trade 2 days for it. He won’t have any conversation or answer any simple questions (ie are we meeting at 5 or 6 today). Even when I reach out to make things right for our daughter it’s silence. The list goes on. There are no avenues for me to communicate. Finally in March I got a lawyer.

We sent a proposal to him and his bully lawyer, to get on a coparenting website and change some other small items in our agreement. No response, in May we decided to file. We have a court date July 17.

We have started summer visitations, alternating 2 week periods. Longer than I am usually away from my 4yo. I sent him a schedule of when I would like to call her, to let me know if it needed changed. (In addition to our one FaceTime a week, I would like 3 additional calls during the 2 weeks.) He seemingly agreed. The only nice text he has sent me in 9 months said....”The FaceTimes are fine. As far as phone calls, your welcome to call anytime and if she is available, I will hand her the phone, if not I’ll have her call you back. We have a lots of plans and activities the next few weeks.”

I was thrilled he was nice and I thanked him. He has never let me call. Mostly ignores them completely, but occasionally he will text me and say he will have her call me later or tomorrow. Those calls never happened. I even promised him I would limit them to 3 minutes.

I don’t think a few minutes every 2-3 days is asking a lot. He responded to an email of saying I “dictated” the schedule to him! I was trying to be nice and civil and give expectation. He says it’s impeding on his time. Even tonight I asked if I could call her, and silence.

I’m so upset by the way I am treated, I poured my heart into his relationship. I’m busting at the seams of frustration to the point where I am moving 500 miles away to Virginia. 200 miles from him is too close. I tried to talk to him months ago about me possibly relocating with Natalie, he would not talk until I got an offer. Then I got the offer and ignored my request for communication again.

I was gonna make him a pretty reasonable visitation offer, cause I wanted that for both of them. The default Long distance plan is not much time at all. Then I ask myself why? Why am I trying so hard so he can see his daughter when I can’t talk to her for 3 minutes every 3 days? So I’ll gladly take the default, less traveling for me.

How do I handle something like this? It’s awful. And he uses our little girl as a pawn to hurt me.

Court is in a week. I’m nervous and optimistic. The judge has to see through this right? How do I show this? This abuse? How do I make my point. I tried so hard to resolve this before court but it just gets worse, you’d think he’d be in better behavior a week prior.

I know this is long, I hope you read this, I hope you can help me.

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7 Answers


answers from Oskaloosa on

Dooon't be "thrilled when he's nice". Don't be "upset by the way you're treated". Don't react at all. Accept that you need to do this via litigation, and let it go. This isn't about you anymore. All that matters is your daughter, and that has to be handled through your lawyers. Honestly other than absolutely necessary I would stop expecting or initiating contact at all. When she is with him, get it in the agreement that he has to let her talk to you. Get your lawyer to address who he lets her be around, etc. But stop making it personal. As long as he has this power to play with your emotions, he wins.

3 moms found this helpful

Diane B.

answers from Westborough on

My husband has an ex who did a lot of this crap. I have a good friend going through it now – the dad doesn’t show up for visitation or even when one of the kids is in the ER, but then says she’s causing “parental alienation” because she won’t give him the passports to take the kids out of the country. He keeps moving farther away but then yells at her. She doesn’t drive them to him, by he way – if he wants them, he shows up when he’s supposed to. She has offered additional time but only by text/email.

I think you have to set aside words like “trying to hurt me” and “trying to be nice.” Leave the emotion out of it. You are still tied to him emotionally in some ways, and I think it would help to get some support for that, perhaps from a counselor or a women’s group. I don’t know what your existing orders say about who he lives with or whether there can be another child in the same house or bedroom. I think you have to let stuff go if he doesn’t take her on vacation with his new relationships. If he’s an inattentive dad, it’s just as well. She’s only 4 and will not know what she missed or even that it occurred.

Taking her passport was a good idea. Put it in a safety deposit box so it’s not even in your house. You don’t have it available, neither does he. Done.

Do call a local women’s abuse center or call the National Domestic Violence hotline for a local number. It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t hit you. Emotional abuse is a real thing, and so is financial abuse if any of that is going on. They can also help you with the signs and symptoms of a controlling partner or ex. It’s enlightening to read them even if you think you already know them all or that they aren’t at play here.

All your communications with him must be “businesslike” – facts only. “Petunia’s annual check-up is on August 4 at 10 a.m.” “Petunia has an ear infection and I have packed her antibiotics with the instructions attached.” He gets the pediatrician’s name/address and that of the school/daycare provider, and you sign documents saying he’s entitled to info (if he is) and you let him find out the routine stuff on his own. Don’t nag him and don’t try to make him a good dad if he isn’t. Save everything you send and he sends. If you have a set time for calls, make them. If he doesn’t pick up, wait a day. Send a text saying, “I called on Tuesday at noon per the agreement but got no answer. When would you like to reschedule?” Have the lawyer put holidays in the visitation agreement so that the Easter thing doesn’t occur again. My husband is Jewish, his ex is not – she got Easter and Christmas Eve/morning, he got Thanksgiving and Memorial Day. She got Mother’s and he got Father’s Day; if those were the other parent’s weekends, a swap was made. My friend texts her ex stuff like this: “The kids finish school on June 24. There’s a week free before they go to camp. They return on July 31, then there are 2 weeks free. I am taking them on vacation August 14-21. School starts August 28th.” Their agreement also says that he gets the December vacation (she and the kids are Jewish, dad is not), and she gets April. She texts when the child is in the ER, and if the dad doesn’t show, she has proof. Hard for him to say she isn’t offering time when he doesn’t show up for his weekends (even Father’s Day) or take them during the summer when he is a teacher and is off. So he has no leverage in court.

If your ex is paying you child support, and if he’s ever late or erratic with it, I’d have his wages garnished and have it direct deposited into your account. Then you aren’t asking him for it, nudging him when it’s late, or dependent on him.

Please edit your post to take out your daughter’s first name. This is an anonymous internet forum and you cannot put children’s real names “out there” for all to see. In fact, your ex could use that to say you are “irresponsible.” Just say “my daughter” or put a name in quotes that’s obviously fake, like “Petunia.”

Reach out for support and please take someone with you to court. There’s a lot of waiting around and that’s exhausting. Do NOT talk to your ex without your attorney present. Let your attorney do the talking to the ex or his attorney. Do NOT be alone with your ex at all. Don’t look at him, don’t get emotional, as hard as that is.

6 moms found this helpful

Suz t.

answers from Sharpsburg on

i think you're handling it exactly right by taking him back to court. no way to know how the judge will see it, but if you stay calm and show every single bit of evidence you're allowed to produce, you should prevail.

remember, it's evidence you need to bring, not emotion.

it sounds like a very difficult situation, and one that may not calm down to a reasonable state for years. your daughter is very young so you've got a long haul ahead. finding ways of keeping yourself in a calm, logical state is going to be very important.

lots of self care. lots of palliative daughter care.

and as you move forward, remember to keep holding every single bit of evidence that falls into your hands. every text, every phone message, everything. you may find yourself back in court repeatedly over time, unless your ex figures out that you're armed and prepared, and his own bitterness quiets down.

it's possible that he'll chill out and become a reasonable co-parent in the future. but it won't happen because you're 'nice.'

it might happen because you're prepared and don't give up.

good luck. i'm rooting for you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Menasha on

Call a domestic violence hotline or shelter in your area. They can best advise you on the laws in your state. They may also be able to provide you with an advocate to sit with or behind you in court. This will help to bolster your courage and confidence.
If you haven't already, start to document everything. Go back as far as you can remember and make a list of the times he ignored your calls and made things difficult for you. Document dates and time of day and what happened.
If you can get him to sign off you are free. It might be the best option.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Eagle River on

Save all the proof you have that he is not letting you have contact with your child, and keep working with your lawyer.

4 moms found this helpful

megan p.

answers from Oklee on

Omg I deal with the same thing. It's so sad. I'm so sorry. I don't know what to tell you because I'm stuck in the same situation too. You're not alone, but I know that doesn't help. :( I hope things get better for you sweetie.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chesapeake on

Can you offer to let him off the hook for child support if he signs away his parental rights?
He doesn't sound like anyone I'd ever want my kid to be with not even for a visit.

4 moms found this helpful
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