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Dear Chump Lady, My ex is trying to bully me into 50/50 custody

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CBfootballDear Chump Lady,

I’ve been divorced for over a year, but I’m still healing my chump heart. I’m relatively new to your blog, but I feel it is already giving me part of my life back. My ex-husband is a narcissistic cheater who married his affair partner. Both continually deny all wrong doing and love to blame me for the affair as well as everything else. In other words they are too awesome and I’m just the bitter loser who tried to get in the way of true love.

I also get told time and time again how fucked up I am for not accepting of my children’s stepmom a.k.a OW. I don’t interfere in their home, but I have requested she not go to my children’s school functions and stay away from me and my family. This to me is a reasonable boundary.

My ex is still verbally abusive to me. He wrote the man I’m dating a letter to convince him I’m a vindictive bitch he should dump. My boyfriend has never responded to the three emails he sent. He is angry with me that I did not give him 50% custody in our divorce. He knows I have PTSD and his wife triggers me. I’m in physical and emotional pain every time I’m around her. Yet he makes sure she interacts with me. I have requested repeatedly when I pick up our sons they not be walked to my car and yet she continues to do so just to trigger me.

They state there is a safety issue. The kids walk from the driveway to my car without crossing the street. My kids are 9 and 5 and they live in he suburbs. There is no safety issue, but they want to play victims. I’m sick of them purposely triggering me and the abusive emails. I can’t go completely no contact because we have kids together. My sons do love their dad and do like being with him. I’m afraid to do 50/50. I don’t want to be bullied to giving him to his demands and he has no respect for my boundaries now. Am I being selfish? I just think 50/50 would cause us to interact more and I can’t parent with a narcissistic child as it is. At the same time I want to do what’s best for my sons and not interfere with their relationship with their father. Any suggestions?

K-mom

Dear K-mom,

The court just ruled on this a year ago and awarded you physical custody. Do you know how many chumps would give their eyeteeth to get that ruling? Quit doubting yourself! You’re not selfish — you’re doing the best you can, you’re abiding by the court order and visitation, and that’s enough.

He doesn’t like it? Hey, well YOU didn’t like being cheated on, you don’t like him sending hate mail to your boyfriend, and you also don’t care for the Trigger Promenade down the sidewalk. Fuck his feelings.

Cynical Chump Lady thinks he doesn’t really want more time with his kids. (Kills the schmoopie vibe over there at the love shack.) He’d probably prefer to not have to pay you child support, and he’d like you to suffer. And the best way to accomplish that is triangulate through the kids and try bullying you into 50/50.

K-mom, this is about CONTROL. He would like to ensure that you never move on. He would like you to live in constant fear that he’s going to challenge the custody arrangement. He and the OW positively LOVE the centrality you give them, because it keeps the triangle alive. It makes you the Enemy and them the Poor, Star-Crossed Lovers Thwarted by Your Constant Unreasonableness.

So STOP giving this disordered piece of shit and his OW centrality. You don’t control what they think and how they feel. Let them find another hypotenuse to torture. I’m sure you’ve been pick me dancing for so long and trying to please the un-pleasable Mr. Cheaterpants that it feels like second nature, but listen to me, K-mom — and repeat after me — pleasing him is NOT YOUR JOB.

Ooh, he’s going to be angry! You must concede to his demands. NOT YOUR JOB.

Look, we’re chumps. We try to be reasonable. We CARE what other people think. When things go wrong, we question ourselves. We’re not afraid to self-reflect and reassess. And it is those very admirable qualities that disordered people exploit.

Chumps think, well maybe if I give them this, they’ll be satisfied! Maybe if I concede that, they will recognize the significance of my sacrifice and will oblige me in turn.

So, we kick that Charlie Brown football and are shocked! astonished! every time Lucy pulls the football away.

Newsflash — the game isn’t football. The game is Snatch the Football and Watch You Fall.

K-mom, there are no winning moves in the game your ex is playing. There is only ONE move — minimal contact.

He’s not your job anymore. (Hurray!) But let me tell you what your job IS:

1. Abide by the court order. Document EVERYTHING. “I will be dropping the kids off at 11 today in front of your house.” Even if you do this every single Wednesday, send an email. So if he EVER challenges you, you have a record of abiding by the order. That’s what courts like — documentation and shows of good faith that you are trying to obey the order.

2. STOP triggering. Yes, me, Chump Lady. I’m telling you to get over it. Is the OW a piece of shit? Yes she is. But she’s also a piece of shit who took a highly disordered person off your hands. You need to trust that he sucks. The corollary to Trust That He Sucks is — she didn’t win a prize. She “won” a highly disordered person who I guar-an-fucking-tee will make her life miserable. But the best way around that misery — disordered spackle, if you will — is to continue in the fantasy that SHE WON and you just can handle her happiness! So STOP playing into their fantasy by performing your recurring role as Embittered First Wife Who Can’t Get Over It.

She comes around? She walks down the sidewalk with your kids? She waggles her fat behind in your face? Your response is MEH. Indifference. Whatevers.

Fake it ’til you make it, K-Mom. But seriously STOP giving them kibbles. Give up the sidewalk fight.

Talk to your lawyer, but you may have to give up the school event fight too. Because the court is all about the best interests of the children. And the appearance of coordinating on homework, school life, etc. is probably essential. My best guess is once you concede this ground and go “meh”, she’ll get over the novelty of Back to School Night. I have a teenager, K-mom, if I never go to another open house or 4-hour 8th grade choral concert, I won’t dissolve into a puddle of disappointment. And you won’t either.

But if you concede that means they WON!

Oh no. They each won the turdish loveliness of the other. Remember, keep removing yourself from the triangle. YOU DON’T CARE.

3. Don’t let him fuck with your boyfriend. Three letters? This is harassment. You have your lawyer send him a letter as a warning that any further communication will result in criminal harassment charges. You cc the local police department.

I’m sorry you’re dealing with that, but again, it’s about control. My cheating ex did something very similar  (but did it “anonymously.”) Character assassination is what these freaks do. He’s trying to punish you for moving on.

Your response to that should be a renewed vigor to move on. And put the heavy boot of the law on his neck if he tries to prevent you.

Look K-mom, escaping one of these freaks is traumatic, but I want you to take a deep breath and realize — YOU ARE FREE of him. Take back your power! You got a ruling and you have the kids! You have a new life and a new boyfriend!

He’s just an idiot who can’t handle it. And she’s just a fuckwit who wants you to want what she has. (An idiot.)

Too bad. So sad. Walk that down the sidewalk and shove it, cheaters.

*Illustration today is by Charles Schultz.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • EMDR is a tool used to treat PTSD. Repetitive movements, left side right side. Read up on it. You need a therapist familiar with it but it seems to work for all types of mental and emotional traumas.
    You also need to understand that the idiot you were married to is just that, an idiot. He isn’t some glamorous movie star. He is a piece of dog turd on the bottom of your shoe. You said you are still feeling chumpy. Nothing like hanging around a narcissist to get a whole lot of craziness going. They are so good at it. Remember he has been learning this skill since he was a child. He just has moved his operation to a new house. The scary skills go with him but he still shares. One of them is manipulating you. He does not want to pay you child support. His new chump-in-the-making wants all his money and resents you getting any. The next time she walks down the driveway have your eyes on something else. She wants you to act crazy so they can take you back to court.

      • EMDR must not work with an entitled narcissist because the XPOS tried it to try to rid himself of thinking of his sons (yes its true, because at the time neither of the 2 boys were speaking to him & he thought that EMDR was like a brain erase that made you forget you had kids)!! That shoulda been one of many clues for me!

        • IHaveHate, I am so sorry but this made me laugh out loud. Narcissists cause PTSD, they usually don’t have it. One thing I have certainly noticed about narcissists. They are totally self absorbed. In my work I have had to deal with many personality disordered types. The way I got through the day was to say, “I may be having a couple of bad moments but this person is going to be a sorry piece of shit every day for the rest of their life”.
          K-mom, narcissists do not do well without the spotlight on them. They do not do well unless they have your complete attention. They do not do well with the humdrum day to day life that most of us live. When you and he first started dating it was exciting, getting married was exciting, having children was exciting because he glowed in the light of being so perfect in those roles. Unfortunately he was a fake. All of that kept him interested but there is no way to sustain that kind of excitement. So it was someone else who shown a lovely spotlight on him and told him he was wonderful and now he is starting all over again. The problem is that that spotlight will eventually dim.Then he will be right where he was in his marriage to you. Their marriage may work out or it may not but it sounds very much like two narcissists found each other. At some point they are going to be in competition with each other as to who gets the spotlight. In the meantime you need to be a person who learns what her boundaries are and sticks to them. You cannot keep her away from the school, or from walking the children down the driveway. Don’t even try to control that. It gives both of them the attention they crave. Narcissists love anything that gives them attention even if it is negative. That is what is so difficult for a healthy person to understand. Your best with that man is indifference. Just let it go if you possibly can. I realize grief is personal and you are grieving the end of a marriage. I sincerely hope that you are enough away from it to recognize that this man was never good for you, and is not good enough for you.

          • “I may be having a couple of bad moments but this person is going to be a sorry piece of shit every day for the rest of their life”.

            LOVE THIS!

          • This is just a little thing, but my lawyer actually thought to put in the settlement that our child would be dropped off at the other parent’s house rather than picked up. The point was to not have to have the child wait to be picked up or have to deal with lateness, but it was also beneficial for me in not having to see OW.

    • Narcs are so GREAT at getting the kettle stirred, while dumping more and more shit in and letting it bubble over while they watch everyone scurry and they just sit there. They perch above and watch.

      You can always have your court order modified. In my court order, My ex can only drop my kids off curbside. He can’t come on my property unless its an emergency. You can also ask that he is the only one, and not his newbie.

      Situations like this are so hard.

      When I was getting out of his web, he would be so verbally mean. Hold crap!!! And that would cause me to act certain ways and it kind of controlled my life – until one day. One day I finally got to a point where I didn’t care. I just did what I was going to do and yes, he got mad. If he starts making comments to the kids, get a log going. But I was finally living my life. After a few years he has backed off, but he is still there poking to let me know he is still his annoying little self. It took me a few years to not put him in such a golden light, this control allmighty thing – because he had me right where he wanted me. That, now, is sick.

      You’ll find your feet, your voice and your power. He will fight back, because that’s what these types do. You can call the shots too.

      Now, when my kids get in my car, he’ll call them to come out of the car for another ‘hug and kiss’ after they have already said their goodbyes with hugs and kisses. I’m heading back to court next month and thinking about adding when the kids are in the car, that’s it.

      You can always go back to court and have your order modified. NOTHING is ever set in stone with the court system.

  • Hello K-mom,
    Another way to look at it is that it is all just drama!! He is a drama queen! Slow day at home? Let me write a nasty email, and sit back and watch the show.
    As a chump kid, I would recommend as part of being a great mom that is you show your sons that boundries should be respected. You respect your court order. You asked the OW not to approach you, and she didn’t respect that wish. I would let that go for the time being, but use these experiences to show you kids how narcissists GET OFF on crossing other people’s boundaries. This is kibbles to them.

    Could you meet them at the pick up after they arrive and park within an inch of them so she doesn’t have to get out of the car? Just for your own amusement of course.

    You are free of him, she won the prize, but you can help you kids recognized disordered people so they minimize the time they spend with people like that.

    • Disordered people are always looking for a way to be the center of attention. Good or bad attention, it doesn’t matter, so long as the spotlight is shining on them. The only way to deal with these folks is to give them zero reaction. Think of it as smothering a fire. Once you cut off the oxygen,the fire burns out on its own. I have had to deal with a crazy OW, who has stalked me for years, but who is just slick enough to (mostly) avoid law enforcement intervention. It’s scary and unnerving, but it has taught me one thing: don’t feed the crazy! Ignore, ignore, ignore that which does not matter. Keep strict boundaries, do not back down on the important things, like custody, and document the hell out of everything. Feeling sad? Talk to friends, go to therapy, “cry in the shower.” Under NO circumstances let your X and his sloppy seconds know they are getting to you. That’s what they want! It keeps them from acknowledging their own fuckedupiness.

      • Good God – you just described my ex – “but who is just slick enough to (mostly) avoid law enforcement intervention”. He does just enough that it’s creepy behavior, but not illegal. Almost harassment to get a restraining order, but not enough (per my attorney). Just enough to take to court, but not enough where the judge shakes her head and apologizes that the court system can’t do anything about really bad parenting. People like this suck. Thank you for your post.

        • my ex is sub-criminal – he doesn’t physically abuse the kids which I could go back to court with, he just emotionally abuses the kids. They like it that way. I read somewhere that with a pathological Narcissist you have to play the loooooonnnnngggg game. Figure out what kind of crazy you are dealing with and plan accordingly.

          Narc’s hate boundarys, that’s why they do this crazy shit. It’s a complete waste of time right? writing letters to your boyfriend. Don’t they have anything better to do?

          Your court order is a boundary, and you have a mantra, ‘just following the courts order’….if the ex wants to change the order, he has to take you to court, same thing for you.

    • My gosh that’s it, “Narcissists get off on crossing other people’s boundaries,”. After 3 years of almost no contact with his father (since D-Day), S26 decided he wanted a relationship where he could see his father alone once in a while for dinner. He goes to meet his father for this dinner, and despite his telling his father that he did not want AP there, his father brought her along…..and insisted that son be best man in their wedding in July!

      That crazy sociopath had no idea that this was improper, disrespectful, and harmful to his son, because as always it is always only about him (ex). He needs at least one of our children at his wedding to help them continue to spin the “twu wuv gone wrong till now” storyline.

      Son realized that ex and schmoopie, two narcissist-sociopaths, will forever attempt to violate his boundaries and will never fail to disappoint him. So he has gone no contact again.

        • There is something so unbelievably twisted about asking children to be in a wedding between a cheater parent and a new spouse.

          My 8 year-old-daughter was the flower girl at her cheater father’s wedding, my 5 year-old-son was their ring bearer. The kids were too young to make any sense of it, but the bitter irony of co-opting naive and innocent children to sanctify a cheater’s new marriage, was not lost on me. Sick, sick, sick.

            • I know tflan, they are delusional. My ex had been cheating for at least 15 years with the AP he is now going to marry along with her best friend (affairs and group sex). AP#1’s (ex) husband had to DNA test their youngest son after their D-Day (shortly after ours of course since schmoopie immediately left her ex AND her two sons to be with my ex).

              But ex now expects that when he marries AP#1, everyone will come around. He even sent our oldest son a “save the date” announcement for their wedding! Instead, my son emailed his father two nights ago, telling him that due to AP’s involvement in our divorce and the years of lies, he cannot attend let alone be best man at their wedding, that he wants nothing to do with her, and that he had wanted a relationship with his father and only his father.

              • ….to clarify, I meant he was cheating with AP#1 and her best friend, not marrying both of them, although polygamy might be appropriate for them under the circumstances…..

              • So is the AP’s best friend who was also an AP going to be in their wedding and join them in their honeymoon?

  • K-Mom: (1) you got custody. He lost. (2) New boyfriend. He lost. There is NOTHING narcissists hate worse than losing. He should lose a third time (3 strikes–yeah!) by not affecting you. The piece of shit needs to accept his place at the bottom of society and leave you the fuck alone. IGNORE everything from him you can; and I agree with CL–what your POS X is doing to your new boyfriend is harassment. Take it legal.

    Right now, he knows that he can affect your emotions, which is an extra special treat for him because he still has POWER over you. Don’t LET him–ignore him except for direct texts about the children. Tell him ALL further contact must go through a lawyer (yes, costs extra, but saves you bypass surgery in the future). Once you interpret EVERYthing he does as wanting power, his behavior will become clearer and you can better take steps to disengage from him.

  • P.S. Has he filed to get 50/50 custody, or is he just harassing you about it? If the latter, clearly it is POWER to harass you that he likes.

  • K-mom…….Please try (I know how hard it is) to ignore the parade of OW in front of you! With each time she or he does this to you, it gets easier to accept the fact that “you are a threat to her”. That is what is prompting all of this shove it in your face behavior! I have had similar issues with my ex’s OW. She thrives on trying to torture me. Poses in pictures with my teenage daughter like they are best friends, issues me checks from their JOINT checking account for additional child expenses and mails them to me, tries to weasel her way into events I am organizing or attending, etc. Yes…..it feels like a huge kick in the stomach most times but I know that it is her own lack of self confidence that is fueling this.

    You rock!!! You rid yourself of him! Thankfully, you are moving on and making a better life for yourself. Stay the course and concentrate on all of the positive changes in your life. As for the 50/50 custody issue……you do not have to give in to that and you are not being selfish. When you decided to have children I doubt that you ever thought you would be SHARING them. You are the stable parent and your boys need you! Not saying he is a bad father and you are correct in that your boys still need their dad, but they will thank you later for being their rock!!!!!

  • Dear K-mom,

    Please check out William ‘Bill’ Eddy’s resources for families going through these types of things. One of his books is listed in CL’s resource section. Mr. Eddy is both a therapist and a lawyer. He specializes in family law & high conflict divorce / custody. His materials are used in some Family Courts and he presents seminars all over the world. He also has a web-site, High Conflict Institute.

    Of course, Dr. George Simon’s books and web-site are must-reads, as well. However, at this moment, Mr. Eddy’s information may be the most apropos. Along with Mr. Eddy’s own books, you can find other helpful resources at Unhooked Books. When you go to High Conflict Institute, I believe you can find Unhooked Books there.

    The more you step away from the crazy, the closer to ‘meh’ you can be & the less ‘triggering’ you will experience, just as Tracy stated. Those two ‘crazies’ you are dealing with are fully aware they trigger you! That is what they ‘get off’ on! As always, CL’s advice is spot-on.

    EMDR has been mentioned for PTSD. Excellent therapy. I have done acupuncture and bio-feedback for mine. ( Plus, getting away from the narc cheater!) PTSD totally gone now. (Neuro-feedback is similar to biofeedback, but perhaps is a step-up. Both highly effective therapies, IMHO)

    Hugs to you, K-mom. Be the strong, sane one for your sons!

    ForgeOn, all…….

  • Hugs, K-Mom, and spot on, CL.
    Your exH’s and OW’s actions are all about control. They want to get under your skin and keep you on your off balance because it is fun for them.
    Kudos for getting more than 50-50% custody. You probably will need to stop trying to keep OWife away from school functions. You can do it!
    Out of the blue this past month my exH starting CCing OWife on all our correspondence, including school related matters. They live overseas, no reason to include her. I also met her for the first time over the winter break, his insistence. Both siutations– all about control. Whatever, it made me realize I am at meh, after 2.5 years.

    A) find a specialist to help with the triggering/PTSD. you need your life back to be there for your kids (and for you!)
    B) can you pick up and drop off kids from the drive way? This way, no safety issue. When my exH lived locally, he would park in the driveway, kids would come out.
    C) so she comes to kid functions. Tough I know (I hated the thought of it as well). A good friend has to watch her NPD exH and his schmoopie and all their PDA at functions; she sits in his lap, etc. Really, who does that at a kids football game? All about image, and pushing buttons.

    K-mom: NPD types hate that they are no longer in complete control. They can be angry, and vindictive. (My sister has been divorced from her NPD ex for 5 years, ugh). Time to take back the control. I know it will be hard work, but worth it in the end.

    We’re rooting for you!

      • Yup, lots of trust issues I think. OWife came with him to visit the kids 3 of 4 visits last year. The irony is, when he sorta told me the marriage was over, ex said “I do not want to end up like my parents.” His father cheated, his mother cannot forget nor forgive, and for the last 30 years his mother cannot trust her husband to even go to the hardware store alone. I always told exH that was sad.

        So, I am giggling now, he ended up how he feared he would end up. hee hee.

    • I agree completely that it is just a control thing. my XH married slut that he is with loved to make me feel bad. I am not sure why. i let her have XH as soon as i found out about her. i did not do anything to her, yes, i had a few words with her when i first found out but i have basically left her alone after that. i have asked her repeatedly that if Xh wants anything from me, wants to see the boys, wants to talk to the boys, etc that he will have to call me himself. i refuse to call her or talk to her to make arrangements for HIM to see his boys. that pisses both of them off because SHE is his protector, she tells him what to do and think and has taken over the “mommy” responsibilities for him that i used to do.

      a few times when i initiated and scheduled visitations with him, she made sure to always be there. she would throw herself bodily on his body, putting herself in between daddy and children whenever they were playing basketball, football, catch, tag, etc….she also would answer for him, interrupt when the children were asking daddy a question and not let him answer his own children. she would often tell my children bullshit about their mom (ME) for example “we wanted to see you so bad last weekend but your mom wont call us” (ever OTHER weekend crackhead) “your dad and i love you so much and we miss you but your mom doesnt let you call us” (ironically said only a few hours AFTER i had 13 year old call his dad and she told him he wasnt there, but he left his phone? i dont think so and in the same conversation, she tells him that dad is asleep. wait he wasnt there so how is he suddenly asleep and THEN said dad was busy and cant talk on the phone. well which one is it, he isnt there, sleeping or busy….i have a feeling that dad was standing right next to her as she said all these things to my son)

      and the real kicker was “your dad and i want you to spend the night but your mom wont let you” after the youngest asked to sleep over. i was super pissed off but then i snapped. as soon as i called him(her) back and said “i dont have a problem with #5 spending the night at your house, do you want me to drop him off or will you come pick him up?” then the story changed and she quit messing with my kids to get to me. of course #5 never did spend the night at daddys. but it wasnt mommy who said no.

      as soon as you call their bluff they quit. so next time she walks children out to the car, smile (fake it till you make it) as big as you can and tell her how much you appreciate that she walks the short distance to make sure the children get safely to your car. when she wants to go to your childrens school functions, tell her that the child would enjoy seeing her there. then ignore her. (she is there for the child anyway so you dont have to talk to her, sit next to her, etc) i would even call them ahead of time asking something like “are you going to be able to make it to so and so valentines party?” “were you planning on bringing a dish(cookies)?” “so and so doesnt need both of us there it would crowd the classroom, so if you let me know what time you are going, i will go earlier(later)”

      i am not sure how it works in your state. but if you already won physical custody, then you dont have to “give in” to his demands for 50/50. whenever he starts pestering you with that your answer should be “have your lawyer talk to my lawyer” or “for now the court ordered this (whatever this is) and visitation is this (whatever this is). i did not make these decisions the court made these decisions” . if it ever gets to court again, then let the courts decide again. but i agree you need to document everything. print out and copy the emails he sent to your boyfriend. advise him to contact you via email only, that way you can print out anything you need for court. if he threatens you, make sure you document it. i have a spiral that i write the things he says and does. every time he was late, every excuse he gave me. i have a folder with all the shit i copied and printed. (depending on what phone you have, most phone have computer software that will sync text messages into your computer so you can print them out)

      dont allow him to verbally abuse you anymore. that is why you need to go strictly to email. if he calls you and starts yelling at you about something, tell him that you are not fighting with him and for him to send his complaints in a email and hang up. if he is stupid enough to send his complaints (and bitches) to you in an email, that only give you more evidence to take to court if he tries for 50/50.

      good luck.

      • “”as soon as you call their bluff they quit. so next time she walks children out to the car, smile (fake it till you make it) as big as you can and tell her how much you appreciate that she walks the short distance to make sure the children get safely to your car. when she wants to go to your childrens school functions, tell her that the child would enjoy seeing her there. then ignore her. (she is there for the child anyway so you dont have to talk to her, sit next to her, etc) i would even call them ahead of time asking something like “are you going to be able to make it to so and so valentines party?” “were you planning on bringing a dish(cookies)?” “so and so doesnt need both of us there it would crowd the classroom, so if you let me know what time you are going, i will go earlier(later)”””

        Sometimes doing this though just allows a narc fuckwit to use it against you, btw. And this OW seems like the kind of person to twist this to suit her own agenda.
        I’d personally just act as if shes invisible. Nothing pisses off pathological narcs off more than this.

  • Do not rethink custody. Trust that the courts got it right and stick to it. My friend gave in to her ex on this and he immediately changed her child support because he had them half of the time. Do not fall for this. She is in a temporary job and has no idea what she is going to do in another month. She will not be able to afford her apartment if something doesn’t break soon. Meanwhile her ex lives in a lovely home with his new girlfriend, they travel and spend every weekend on his boat. He treated her life absolute shit during all of this, but guess who is super friendly now that he doesn’t have to pay child support anymore? Seriously, don’t give in.

    Now think about how much time these disordered fools try to come up with ways to get to you. I gotta say if I was with someone who devoted a large portion of his time coming up with ways to screw over his ex I think I’d dip out. These people are bullies and like we tell our children “bullies bully because they want the power, don’t give it to them”. So stop giving them reasons to torture you. Look I get it, if I could drive a truck over the OW in my situation I would do it. I have never even met the bitch and I can’t stand her. But you know what, I have finally reached the point (2 years) where I am kind of grateful she got that asshole out of my life. Life really is so much better without him and he wouldn’t have left without a back up plan.

    You will get to that point too. Focus on what you do have. Great kids, kind boyfriend, lovely court order and an idiot ex that is not living in your home anymore. You win!!! Every time the other woman walks your kids to the car, just silently repeat in your head, “her life is gonna suck, her life is gonna suck”. Say it over and over again, because you and I both know it’s true. Put the kids in the car, say thanks and drive away from crazy. She is only a trigger if you allow her to be. Don’t give them the power.

  • Stand your ground! My cheater won 50/50 custody after bribing my 12 year old daughter with a $2000 shopping spree. Now that he has his desired custody arrangement, he leaves her with a nanny, or to “babysit” a younger child of a friend so they can go party overnight. He just wanted to “win”. He did not care about spending time with her. But I am sure to document everything and will take him to court in a few months.
    I know it is difficult, but giving in is a “no going back” way of getting f*cked over. Stay strong!

  • Could be wrong but I suspect if you follow CL’s advice, this twit will get sick of the school events if she is ignored. Also, know that YOU are the MOM! Righteous Moms are a force of the universe. OW, not so much. She is the stepmom who is the one trying to fit in. Not to knock stepmoms at all (they have a tough role and can be the awesome), but just saying, people know you are your kid’s Mom who is doing the right thing, and if you stay strong with that, they WILL respect it.

    I’m reminded of one of my favorite all time movie scenes where QE slammed the Spanish ambassador with “I too can command the wind, sir! I have a hurricane inside me that will strip Spain bare should you dare to try me!” The words don’t do it justice, you have to hear it (easy to find on Google). These folks don’t deserve the time or effort to muster those words and that fury, but the mindset and capacity was awesome. Not someone to be messed with.

    This may even hold true with the driveway scenario. If you act as if you don’t care, she may get bored with that drill too. These people are awful for a reason. Boring, mundane day to day responsibilities are not often high on their list of priorities.

    BTW, my W absolutely hated the chorale concerts and used to gripe about attending to me and our son (who is an awesome singer) all the time. She skipped a couple. I attended them all and loved hearing his voice change from a sort of soprano to a rumbling bass. He noticed.

  • Were you awarded primary custody and he visitation in the divorce by the judge? Because that’s a court order then, and you don’t have to do 50/50 just because the Narc X says so. If he wants 50/50 custody, make him go to court for it. I agree with the others, its because he doesn’t want to have to pay child support, not because he wants to see them anymore. A couple of Chumps I know IRL have had similar things happen and it was always about child support. The extra time granted was never taken or once they found out child support would not be changed, the matter was dropped. Did they have to go to court for this and involve the lawyers? Yes. But sometimes you need someone else other than you telling the Narc NO.

    Was it ordered in the divorce for her to not go to your kids’ school functions or to keep her distance from you? Because as much as it pains me to say this, unless that’s what happened, you’re not going to be able to enforce that. No, you don’t have to invite him or her to your personal celebrations or functions, but the kids’ school functions? How are you going to keep her away exactly? Not tell their father about them? That can actually get you in trouble with the court. Ask him not to bring her? You know he’s going to do the exact opposite. The same with asking that she not walk them out, you know they’re going to do it on purpose now just because.

    CL’s right. The more you’re Meh and indifferent, the less kibbles and drama he gets, which is what he wants.

    • Just a note. Dad, the other parent here, is responsible for knowing his child’s schedule of events. (School, extracurricular, etc. That is what a calendar is for) It is NO longer Mom’s job to play secretary. 😉

      • It is in my court order that the residential parent must promptly inform the non-residential parent of any information of school activities and programs, club meetings, athletic schedules of anything the child is involved in, as well as meetings with teachers and school grades. X did not ask for this, this was part of the standard court order in my area.

  • Love the Charlie Brown comparison. New to this site, but enjoying it immensely. Divorcing my narc after 4 D-days (but he was sorry and he loved me!). Waiting for decision on custody. Weekend dad asking for 50-50 custody, because do you know what support would cost him?!! Trying to stay positive, since MOW isn’t getting a prize. Not sure how he will handle being in household with 4 kids when the sparkles wear off since he has avoided real responsibility for our one child (soon to be 2). Nice of him to let me know I can pump to allow him 50-50 custody of an infant….that his girlfriend will take care of for him.

    • Qwerty, I’m so sorry you are going through this while pregnant! Listen, it seems to me that someone could make a case for you not to have to hand over your infant to the OW! The mother infant bond is a very important thing to establish with a newborn and to interrupt or confuse it seems criminal to me. Not everyone can pump successfully, either. I never could and I breast fed all of mine, including twins for a year and a half. Even if you have done it before, you could find that it doesn’t work this time…who are they to say? I would certainly do everything I could to fight that. It’s outrageous. What a piece of shit he is.

  • K,
    Belly up to the bar me and you are gonna do some talking….first everything CL told you is spot on, second you must do it.
    Couple of things I would like to add… You have primary physical custody…and its court ordered! You are already ahead of the fuckwit in this game… And truely… It is a game for him… And probably the other woman too. She doesnt like to see a large chuck of her vacay money being signed over to you monthly.
    So if your ex wants to letition the court and fight for 50/50… By all means allow him… This is the fun part…the burden of proof is on him to prove the current custody situation is not in the best interest in the children…and merely a year out … He would have to find some pretty damning evidence to show that the children are not thriving. Court will not be happy that he is trying to mess with the status quo.
    You will have to document your little heart out… Also it means that you can not make statements to him about amount of child support, that you are not coping … Blah blah blah…. And keep throwing your crazy in their face and the will have a reason to take you to court. You keep telling them that you are ‘ triggering’ everytime fuckwits wife is around and you will be a bonafide nut job that cant see strait.
    I do not want to minimize your pain or make lite of your mental health condition…. But they will and use it against you. So get counseling… Keep your mouth shut about it… DO NOT WAVE CRAZY AROUND…
    Get accupuncture… Massage… Get a fucking voodoo doll and stick pins in it… Do not tell your ex and his whore bag one more day that she is triggering you. Why dont you just tell them… Hey i am bat shit crazy and cant cope with anything… So have at it. Walk up to the door and get your kids drive them home with the biggest fucking fake smile you have….
    Cause some part of me says that you want them to know she is triggering you and they should feel sorry for you? They are laughing at you. And you are the running joke… And you give them all the ammo for the giant target on your back.
    Now its seems you have been able to move on… You have a BF… And why he is being subject to your Exs abuse is another question?! Why isnt he blocking the emails or filing the harassment order… Why are you fighting that battle too? He is a grown man correct? I would maybe have a look at yr picker and suggest that you examine that relationship too. You seems to be doing battle for him… And sounds like your new BF is allowing that to happen????
    K you need you regain some power in your life… Lay off the BFs and do some important self work. You dont have to cave for the 50/50 unless its what you feel is in the best interest of your children period.

  • I have a suggestion to go along with all the sane and very good advice given, and that is to get someone else to do drop-off / pick up. You can pay this person if needs be, someone like, say, a trusted friend or relative who might need a few bucks, or a local-area college student who you know properly. Someone who can smile and wave… or better yet… occasionally have your boyfriend do it… go together… go on, just once or twice… be chatting to each other, don’t even acknowledge she’s there, get the kids in and off you go… one happy family…

  • It’s just my opinion, but I wonder what the 50% thing does to kids long-term. No permanent home – your life a constant swirl of changing bedrooms. I would fight to defeat that arrangement. I’m sure he’s basing it on $ anyway. Get that PSTD help – and CL is right —actions can led to better emotions if practiced enough. So act like you don’t care – the feeling will follow.

    What kind of Fuckdick sends YOUR new beau and email? A pyscho! I would keep copies of those. And if there is one shred or threat of violence – I would pop into the local Police Dept and get a restraining order. Your cheater is a big creep – but I think he’s got the potential to be dangerous. Protect yourself!

    • Yes, keep the e-mails so that they can be used against him in his valiant battle for the love of his children. (Bahahah!) No, but keep them. The courts will see that HE is the crazy one.

  • K-mom, first of all, congratulations on getting rid of a disordered person AND getting full custody. That’s a double mighty move in my book.

    This situation will stop triggering you when you decide to focus on the good, however difficult it is to find. You will have to mine for it, especially when you are at your most vulnerable self. Time to turn garbage into compost.

    The good:
    1) He is out of your life.
    2) You now have a boyfriend, who sounds healthy. Think of his level of awareness. Instead of being triggered, he sees it for what it is. A drama and he consistently chooses not to have a role.
    3) You have full custody. Your kids now get a chance to be healthy adults with you as the sane parent being there for them on a daily basis.
    4) Your ex is married to another disordered person. If this isn’t punishment, I don’t know what is. Just think back of what most of us went through being married/partnered with a disordered person.
    5) If they are truly happy and content, why do all those things to you? If I were quite happy with my life, I would probably be thinking of a million other things other than coming up with schemes to piss off my ex.

    There is so much to celebrate, K-mom, even though it may not feel like it at times. Tracy is right. Fake it ’til you make it really works. If you need to meditate, pray, or whatever you need to do to center yourself before the drop off or any situation where you will see them, then do it. Do it for you. Today and always, you come first before your ex. Choose where to focus your energies.

    I leave you with this quote:
    “One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between 2 “wolves” inside us all.

    One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

    The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

    The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

    The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.” “

  • I get it! But you must find a way to get meh! The most freeing day was when I decided to get go of the hate. If it weren’t for the main OW in my sitch, I’d still be with a man that I later found out had cheated our whole marriage. Yes, it blows sharing my kids. But, I get a chance to be in a real relationship with an amazing person. I get to show my kids a healthy relationship. She? She gets a cheater. Just keep telling yourself that. Go to drop offs knowing what prize she gets. Because it’s the truth. Ignore his crazy and just be meh.

  • K-Mom, I can’t add a lot to what’s been said already. This is about control, yes….but I see it directed at something different. This is impression management with your kids and the friends/family/neighborhood at large.

    My XH constantly worried that his nice guy image was going to be ruined. One of my family members also was like this during her divorce. It has nothing to do with the kids’ well being, or child support payments (he STILL has to pay for those boys’ food, shelter, activities. that’s not free.) He frets that he will “lose” his child. You have to understand NPD and think like they do (ick. I know.) People, especially CHILDREN are sources for them…kids are especially great, because they are so innocent, malleable and impressionable. They are little mirrors for the NPD and his greatness. Just think! 15 or so years of unrelenting kibble supply and a great impression of him in the neighborhood! Double bonus!

    He doesn’t want custody. He wants kibble dispensers.

    About the triggering. I agree with Tracy. You need to get over it. In this case, you need to internalize that every action does NOT require and equal and opposite reaction. You dance nicely for them when you do this—Look, Schmoopie! I can still make K-Mom cry! She still wants me. Aren’t you lucky you won my amazingness, Sweetypie? Don’t you forget it! OOOOOOOOOOOooooooooo what a huge kibble triggering is for him. You are making him seem amazing to her and vice versa.

    The letters to your boyfriend. Again, impression management. He mistakenly is trying to get in front of a narrative that you’ve already won. That same family member who did the whole tooth and nail fight for custody and then some—did this same thing as well, only she CALLED her ex’s girlfriend and sat there for 3-4 hours telling all kinds of intimate details.

    Ok, yeah, people don’t always change up their routine when moving on with someone new. It doesn’t make them like these NPDs that have a set repertoire of lies and exaggerations. Originality isn’t what counts, sincerity is. But, gf heard a lot of “sameness” in the stories—and unfortunately started to doubt that the Ex really WASN’T the monster douchebag that my family member was claiming he was.

    It’s all impression management. It really has nothing to do with you per se–if you would just SHUT UP and GO AWAY, they would not feel compelled to go out there and bring your reputation down to the level of theirs.

    Don’t you do it. You did nothing wrong. You hold your head HIGH and you live your life where your sons can see what NORMAL looks like—you keep lines of communication open with your SO—and you keep full physical custody of those kids. What in the description of your set up looks like something to be upset about…..you won EVERYTHING and he and schmoops lost it ALL. Sit on your high horse and rejoice!!

  • This is a timely post for me today. I support CL’s guidance and how to pull out of the cognitive PTSD with boundaries and reality. We also need specific tools to do this.

    K-Mom, IMO, what X is doing here is essentially more gaslighting. He acts as if torture is OK, and we chumos start to think we need to just shut up and take it. Which usually gets translated in our minds as Am I Being Selfish? Lord knows that is what kept me hooked for 25+ years. Enough!
    It is not selfish. It is normal, essential, to our well being and sanity, to know what we know and to have boundaries around this knowledge. And it is vitally important to have tools to manage cognitive and somatic trauma triggers.

    After being cognitively triggered this weekend by XH email….poor XH, doesn’t want to hold up property settlement, i am the unreasonable one, he was unhappy the whole 25 years, the affair just happened, our marriage could never work out – last statement supported by a few cherry picked times i got angry at him for financial infidelity, once saying “this isn’t a marriage, it is a farce” — wow, was i right?! and wow, i used a lot of spackel, didn’t i?

    So, K-Mom, today, 4 years post dday and 1.5 years post divorce, with a lot of good therapy and a sincere desire to move on, i still get triggered. I was starting to believe him again. That I am the selfish one! CL’s guidelines today are the North Star. Seeing it in her light would help. But we still need tools like EMDR mentioned in first post. I am doing a lot of research into recovery from intimate betrayal and abuse. It seems to be a new field. I am benefitting from Peter Levine’s somatic experiencing trauma work. But it does not address the cognitive nature of this kind of trauma.

    Chump trauma seems more like Stockholm Syndrome stuff. Parts of our thinking are still attached to the relationship we had (to what was real for us) with the cheater. It is our own skein that must be gently and lovingly be unraveled to expose the new reality and our new life. At least that is my prayer today for all us chumps.

    Would love to see a post here devoted to the effective ways we mighty chumps handle the ongoing mindfuckery on our way to Meh.

    • To clarify…the ongoing mindfucks = unavoidable contact with cheater’s… ongoing unavoidable mindfucks!

      Natural disasters, stranger assaults, car accidents have a beginning and an end. Chumps with kids by cheater and / or still connected via property settlement proceedings, child support, etc need specific tools.

      Today i plan to do tried and true: journal, vent to a friend, walk in nature with gratitude, and give it all to God…again!!

      Oh yeah, i will also email XH and tell him if he stops payments, i will file a show cause.

      • Good comment on methods towards meh. Look, I think nearly all chumps suffer from PTSD after infidelity. I know I did. And even years later I still have the occasional nightmare. If drugs help, if EMDR helps — do it. And absolutely find a good therapist to work through this with.

        But speaking for myself, the strongest thing I did to move toward meh was a) No contact (or if you have kids, minimal contact, and business only conducted by email) and b) REFRAME the debate.

        My answer is about reframing this.

        You’re getting upset because you feel injured and continually abused by these people. Not taking one whit of their assholery away, REFRAME. Why should the OW upset you? Because she wants to? Don’t give her the satisfaction. Why should the OW upset you? She took a disordered, controlling narcissist off your hands. That’s HER prize. THAT is what she won. He’s not delightful and he’s not going to be delightful for her. He’s going to be a controlling asshole, that will try and DESTROY you if you leave him. That’s what she “won.”

        Reframe it, and you see sad, pathetic, controlling nut jobs. Who aren’t your problem.

        Focus on the kids, on what you DO control, and the anxiety diminishes. I think most of our anxiety is caused by trying to control the uncontrollable.

        • Agree with reframe strategy. It absolutely needs to be said and restated …over and over. It is the reality we cannot see when in fight, flee, or freeze mode (our responses to threat).

          When we can flee or fight, the energy gets used up and our nervous system resets, and we are OK. It seems like chump PTSD is about getting stuck in freeze mode. Reframe helps when the prefrontal cortex is thinking normally. It is a must. It is a northstar. But when we are in freeze mode, we are literally not accessing that part of the brain. We Know it doesn’t matter, but our body is signaling emotional Danger. Hence the need for tools.

          This blog is an ongoing valuable tool for me. I appreciate your courageous voice, CL, and every single chump post.

  • Here’s something fun you can do: As she’s walking toward you, get out your phone, take a picture of her, giggle to yourself and then text the pic to your best friend. If confronted, you just say you don’t know what she’s talking about or to mind her own business, as you’ll take pictures of whatever you want. Free country, right?

    My ex and his butt-slut like to overdress for everything, as if they’re expecting the paparazzi to show up. I take pics of them and send them to my sister and we laugh together at how ridiculous they are. 🙂

    • JBaby that’s hilarious! There’s nothing better than taking something that traumatizes you and finding a way to laugh about it. Anyway, it is so hard as a traumatized chump to deal with seeing the ex and OW. Or even just seeing the ex. I know I took Xanax to get through my son’s wedding where I saw ex for the first time in a year. It worked like a charm. I took a very low dose and didn’t feel drugged, just normal and not full of anxiety. It was awesome! I was able to interact with my ex and when I realized he was much more of a basket case than I was, I felt so much better. We have to do whatever it takes to get through these difficult times until they no longer bother us. Or at least minimize the times we have to deal with them at all. In my case, my kids were grown when ex flew the coop, so I’ve rarely had to see him. My heart goes out to chumps who have young children. What I wish for K-Mom is she could find some way to walk up to their door, feel perfectly calm, get her children, and drive away in the car like seeing OW meant nothing to her. That would stop their stupid mind games. It would probably take a lot of therapy or Xanax to get to that point, though. And you can’t drive if you’re taking Xanax.

      • I took a low dose of metoprolol for a year or so when I knew I was going to have to see the ex. This is a beta blocker drug that treats high blood pressure. Some people use a similar drug, propranolol, for public speaking or for other types of performance anxiety. It’s not good to use if you already have really low blood pressure or pulse, but it can really take the edge off. I had a lot less shaking! It really helped me a lot.
        I didn’t want to use the Ativan/Xanax type drugs because they really shouldn’t be taken if you are driving, and I’m a busy mom. Some people (obviously not you, Lyn!), especially if they are emotionally fragile anyway, can get hooked on Xanax, and then you have a whole other problem.

        Just another option.

        • I take Ativan/Xanax on occasion for insomnia. Originally I got totally hooked on a small dose at night and the withdrawals are horrible! EVERY ONE gets hooked on benzos, they are strongly physically addictive – it has nothing to do with emotional fragility. These drugs literally physically hook you within a week. Do not take them daily if you can avoid it, if you alreadydo take them you must very gradually reduce dose (no matter how small it already is), or you will have physical withdrawal symptoms. I wish I’d never heard of Xanax! They are safe to take once in a while.

          FYI; benzos cause memory issues, especially in older adults. I experienced this myself, I had to stop taking them because of it. That is when I discovered how physically addictive they are – wish I researched it BEFORE my doctor prescribed it….

          • Amen, Datdamwuf! Your comments regarding xanax dosage and withdrawl are concise and correct. Xanax is EVIL!!!

            I became an ‘accidental addict’ when my dr prescribed it for my inability to sleep and panic attacks following my divorce and subsequent abuse by XBF.. Withdrawl was extended and horrible and I am still in their throws months later, The lingering daily ‘brain fog’ is horrible but the worst is the tinnitus (ringing in ears) I will have to endure for the rest of my life, there is no treatment. Xanax is well known for causing tinnitus–I was given extended release xanax which is EVEN WORSE! Living with the sound of very loud cicadas (think crickets on steroids) 24/7 is horrendous.

            Thank you for bringing this issue to light!

            • Hesatthecurb, I hear you – and yes I have intermittent tinnitus now too, nothing like what you have but it is very frustrating! Jedi Hugs dude!

              • MrsV– the sleep agent in zzquil is diphenhydramine, which is antihistamine. It is the sleep component in Tylenol PM, Aleve PM, etc. It too, can cause physical addiction but not near as severe as xanax

              • MrsV–glad you are doing better—we have to be so careful because sleep/anxiety meds, either prescription or OTC can really mess with our brains.

        • Miss Sunshine, you are right that Xanax is very addictive. My doctor warned me about this and told me to only take when I really needed it. Luckily I don’t have an addictive personality and haven’t even finished a whole bottle. I’ve just used it on the 2-3 times I’ve had to see my ex since he left. I also used it off and on the first month of our separation to stop the panic attacks so I could sleep.

    • JBaby- your post is hilarious. It made me immediately think of the Riddikulus spell in Harry Potter, used to subdue a Boggart (your worst fear). I’m going to try it if I ever see her again. I’ve inadvertently seen a recent picture or two of her and she has aged a ton. She is looking worst for wear (and it brings a smile to my face 🙂

  • K-Mom, all good advice from CL. I had one thought about your ex bullying you for 50/50 custody….if you were to give in (which you won’t, right?) he WILL try to turn the kids against you. Don’t give him the chance. He would love nothing more than to stop paying child support and to twist the knife more by using your kids as his pawns.

  • I don’t know about the email piece to bf. Why not just ask him to respond back briefly?

    Something like this:

    “Really?! THREE emails to your ex’s bf. Tells me who really is the crazy one. Don’t contact me again.”

    • But DM, isn’t silence even more powerful? It keeps the ex guessing. Responding means the ex got to the boyfriend. I say just block his email address.

          • Just reading up on the Gift of Fear. The author recommends NOT responding at all to this kind of entrapment from people who “refuse to let go”. Her X is one of those people. His email to her current BF only engages both the Chump and her BF with the X in order to enrage someone. Best tip from the author with those who refuse to let go: DO NOT ENGAGE. Ignore. No Contact.

            By all means keep the email and any other forms of harassment the X chooses to spew. Do not engage. Do not let X and OW rewrite the narrative that you, the chump, are a crazy mess. Because you are not! Stay NC in all ways. Even negative contact is still contact. Do not take pics, etc..of the OW or otherwise.

            Stay strong and document document document.

            • All chumps who have X’s who can’t let go (even if they remarry) should read De Becker’s book. “DO NOT ENGAGE. Ignore. No Contact.”

        • I agree in not blocking emails, ‘for the record’.

          It may be a good idea though to send the little note as suggested by DM because (if the law works the same way there as it does here) you usually have to advise/warn a person not to contact you to form the legal basis for criminal harassment charges. So checking that little box off might be a good idea.

          I would certainly support going silent after that though. No point arguing with a fool.

          • It’s worth a a few hundred dollars to let the lawyer sent the letter. Then it will have maximum effect if ever needed in court and will show that K-Mom and BF are not engaged in similar behavior. Just a thought.

          • I would not recommend engaging beyond just telling the xH to stop. Keeping the records/emails might help if this behavior becomes a pattern or gets worse. A third party ought to be able to see the craziness clearly as removed from the situation.

          • Have the email auto deposit itself in a special “jackass” folder. That way, you don’t have to deal with it in your inbox, but you have it there in case you need to see it.

          • Just wanted to say huge thanks! I just found this site. These posts are some of the most insightful, deep and powerful things Ive ever had the pleasure of reading on the internet. Chumps we might be (in the middle of divorcing a Narc) but omg you people rock! Happlily a Chump. Having read this aldeit a wiser one. Having said that, I agree that the e-mails should be printed out and kept and no response should be given 1) because drama is kibbles 2) do not throw bf to the pirhana. He is a noob to this kind of behavior. HOWEVER if contiued your bf not you should contact a lawyer as the mail was sent to him. Why he showed you or said something to you idk how that came about. Give an inch they will eat you! Your dealing with a wild animals. Dont feed the bears!

  • CL has given you some great advice here. Log everything and take advice on the nasty emails that your boyfriend was sent. Do not engage or retaliate as that would only dignify their shit.
    Do happy couples want to stir up trouble and piss you off? Why would they? Surely if you are re-partnered and moving on it frees them up to enjoy their shiny new life together. So it sounds like its getting boring without the kibbles and a triangle is more stable than a twosome….do not be their third wheel.
    I agree that it sucks having OW in your face and attending events but save your energy for what is within your control and award them not another minute of satisfaction by rewarding them with kibbles.

  • My ex and I share 50/50 but he pays me all of the child support. I guess that’s an unusual thing but it’s in my agreement. I hate sharing my kid but my lawyer said to me that to do court battle over an affair would be a no-win situation. I’d still end up with 50/50. So I took the deal.

    My daughter is dropped off and I request that my ex does not enter my home without being asked. There’s no need at my daughter’s age for him to enter my home or escort her. She’s old enough to do that on her own. Occasionally there are times when we do interact but it’s brief. He hates this and often comments on how I am I “rude” to him. I ignore it but that took time.

    I had to learn a new way to interact. I keep it brief and I say no. I don’t have to interact with his new piece if I don’t want to, so I don’t. I’ve met her once and it was civil. I don’t cross the street to interact with either of them. They don’t like that? Hmm..doesn’t look like I have any more shits to give.

    I’ve learned that when I say no, the control and abuse ramps up. Cheaters hate boundaries and the loss of control. They seem to enjoy making you uncomfortable as if to say, “Look at me now!”, but underneath that is a sad pathetic person. Keep your head high. The shame is theirs, be cool and walk away with your pride. The less you react, the more confused these cheaters get. Eventually they learn they can’t get to you and the drama dies down.

  • K-Mom:

    I know you have to get through school events and this sidewalk bullshit now, but given the divorce rate of second marriages that started as 2 disordered narcissistic shit heads fucking around on their spouses, I doubt you’ll be dealing with it for long. Kindergarten graduation and Christmas concerts? Yes. College graduation and where to seat her at your sons’ wedding? Doubt it.

  • K-mom,

    What makes disordered people do disordered things? They are disordered. Period. The NPD cheater x I once married went so far as to bring his OW to help him break into my home. Thank God there were no kids, but he wanted to steal the cats after agreeing that I would take them with me. AFTER I refused joint cat custody and refused to separate the twin cats. Again, it was all about winning. They can’t win if you don’t play. No is a powerful word. No contact is even better.

  • I haven’t read all the other responses, but, CL is spot on.

    You are going to have to get into a wrestling match with your ego now, and come out on top real quick.. That’s what is causing you the problem. When CL mentions what the courts want (what’s best for your kids), in this situation, you have got to back off. Let THEM be the bad guys. You have to be (even if you don’t FEEL like it) the ever-cooperative Mom to the court. Not only do they want that – but your kids will too. Your X and OW will be able to brainwash your kids into thinking you are the biggest bitch in the world if you continue to let them get to you. Your kids’ minds are at a VERY tender age for that. (Tough at any age – but this age is REALLY tender).

    Was there a specific reason why you got 100% physical custody? Whatever that reason is – play on it. Make a bullet-point list of things you could tell the court with respect to that reason (like: xxx didn’t want them in the beginning, why all of a sudden now? It seems as if he’s treating them as pawns.) if he drags you back in to go for 50%. And you DON’T want them to be able to say that you are being unreasonable and that’s why they want 50%.

    SO:

    DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT. *Everything.* Start a daily journal. Every encounter with the kids, and them. If the kids say, “Daddy and xxx say you are a poo-poo head”, write the date, day, time, and exactly what happened, and how you handled it. Same thing if they accuse you of doing something – especially if they don’t write to you about it? YOU DO. Get your family (or part of his if any of them are on your side) to document stuff too, if they become dragged into this.

    Do you have a written custody agreement? Is there a clause in there that says that neither parent is to down the other one? Look over the agreement carefully. If there is a violation on anything in there, email him (them) nicely but matter-of-fact’ly to warn they are in violation of the agreement.

    ONLY communicate to them in writing. If he calls you, you can say, “I’ll only communicate via text or email now, thank you”. Then write it down.

    GO get therapy. You WILL need help with this. You’ve got two people working against you and the state you are in now you should NOT go it alone. Look for someone who has court experience with custody.

    If you take careful steps to be prepared, that should help you relax and have everything ready if needed. But you must be proactive on these several fronts, or the consequences might not be to your liking.

  • As long as you triangulate in their chaos, they don’t have to focus on themselves. You are the “whipping boy” in the fuckupedness of their own relationship.

    Once you are no longer the go-to of their hatred, they only have each other to engage in their disordered thoughts.

    This is where a smile and thank you is the biggest and most effective weapon you have against these people.

    Let the courts decide the visitation. You can say that with a smile, too.

  • K-mom, this literally hurt my heart to read. I could actually feel your frustration, helplessness and hopelessness with this situation. It sounds to me as if you are doubting yourself and your self-esteem needs a boost. As hard as it is to let go of the feelings that the OW stole your life – it is what it is. Like CL said, you’re only weapon is your response to them.

    I know you’d rather run a cheese grater up and down your shin, but the next time Whorezilla walks the kids to the car, give her a big smile, say “Hey, Dude! Thanks for thinking of the kids safety!”. That will counteract anything their dad may say about you to them about not being cooperative. SHE might just swallow her tongue she’ll be so surprised! And if you put enough spin on it’ “thanks” can sound exactly like “fuck you”.

    I heard this saying on another chumpy blog and it really suits your situation: Let Go Or Be Dragged. Words to live by. Wishing you so much peace.

  • OK, I’m going to be an asshole here… but how did the XH get the new BF’s email address? That’s unacceptable. I need you to go into full asshole mode with me (’cause that’s how it will feel) and say, “YOU ARE FUCKING ENTITLED TO NOTHING IN MY LIFE, EX HUSBAND!!!”

    K-Mom, I was you. *EXACTLY*. Probably why I’m so triggered right now. My X#1 did *exactly* this. I would be chatting with my lawyer, and he’d be shaking his head. He’d look at me and say, “All the other divorces I’ve handled, they get divorced, the custody and support are worked out, and that’s it. They go on. But this guy. THIS GUY! He just can’t leave it alone! What’s wrong with him?”

    I had to set up this Rube Goldberg-type system where I would leave the offspring with a babysitter that was next door no less than 2 hours before each scheduled visitation was supposed to happen because he might show up early and bitch that she wasn’t ready or he might show up late in order to depth-charge any plans we had made that were dependent on her being picked up first so we could go somewhere. And arrange with them to be there to receive her when he dropped her off because it might be way earlier than arranged because he would have a last minute date with one of his strippers or his dumpster dive du jour. Or way later. Who knows.

    And his new wife (not the AP he left me for, that’s a whole ‘nother story) did the pick me dance like crazy, ’cause he was already having affairs on her from the beginning, so she’d do anything in the world to “make him love her more”. This included accusing me and my then-spouse of abuse, alcoholism, being unfit parents… whatever they could make up. It was nearly 10 continuous years of filing after filing, answering one motion after another, punctuated by court appearances and threatened kidnappings (he did that twice).

    I also had to employ stealth techniques in my daily dealings with my own child. Since she was so small, anything she heard, she’d repeat. Little kids don’t have any filters. They’re born honest and transparent and then we turn them into liars. 🙁 XH and his partner in crime were always trying to get out of paying child support by hiding how much money they were making. So I had to lie, constantly, about what I did for a living and hide any cost-of-living raises or holiday bonuses for fear they’d seize on that in order to drop my support if they could. It felt like living under Gestapo supervision.

    I feel for you… I feel so bad for you. This sucks, so, sooooo much. I’m starting to cry a little bit as I write this, because I hate that another human being has to go through this kind of hell. I wish you weren’t. The only way I regained any sanity at all was to route everything through my lawyer as much as possible. He was a great layer of insulation between me and the asshattery that was my XH/2nd Wife combo. What a controlling fucking bastard.

    Sending you big hugs from all of us here at Chump Nation.

  • The OW is an aggressive twat who gets off on “triggering” you. So don’t give her that power.

    Keep contact to an absolute minimum, and that means one or two sentences only via text or e-mail. Remember that anything you say can and will be used against you in court. YOU document, as others here have suggested.

    Stop allowing these idiots to push you around. Stop taking the victim role of being triggered. That is passive. YOU control ONLY YOU, but you must control yourself. That means that you must not insist on anything you cannot control, or you lose. And then you hate yourself and they laugh. Therefore, you must not insist that she not walk the kids to your car–you can’t control that. Only she can, and she doesn’t want to. You mustn’t insist that she not show up to school events. You can’t control that. It might help you to join the PTA or another parent (it’s mostly other moms) fundraising or organizing group at the school so that for these events you can focus on work and the camaraderie with the other school moms in those groups. That’s your role, one that she cannot usurp. There is a LOT of power when sister moms join together. You could go all 7th-grade on her–imagine a few of you moms staring at the whore as she walks in, then whispering to each other with gleaming eyes. She will become the insecure one. Just be sure NOT to burden people with constant drama about the ex and OW–be in COMMAND of your life. Show your strength and joy and fun most of all. Keep that OW amusement brief, then focus on your main task, and that is to be the best mom. Remember she can NOT and will NOT ever replace you. Keep it light. Maintain your sense of humor and have FUN! You LOVE your kids! Don’t make the school events about you and your drama–focus on the kids. Laugh with them! They will be soooooo happy to come home to your house where they can RELAX and be with you instead of being with their fuckhead obsessive jackass “father” and his aggressive twat sidekick. Oh, you KNOW that shit will blow up one day, and you’ll be far away from it. In a way, as others have mentioned, she did you a favor. Let that glint in your eye let her know that you know that oh BOY did she “win!!” Think, “Good luck, you troll! Smell ya later!” But just ignore her in reality.

    You don’t control what happens in their home, either. You don’t have to be a secretary and organize their relationship with the kids’ school–they are grown-ups, and there are TWO of them, so they can organize themselves. You don’t have to tell them about the school play or open house–they can figure out when those activities occur, just as you have to do.

    You got this. Just stop giving her and him power over you. THEY do not trigger you, you allow it. Reframe your thinking. Stiffen that spine. Remember the chump nation is behind you.

    Think of her as a turd walking on two sticks down the driveway. All, “Blah blah blah lookit me, I win, I’m a turd who breaks up families blah blah blah don’t I trigger you any more?” Maybe you can be on the phone with a sympathetic friend as OW walks the kids out to your car–your friend can talk you down and make you laugh. You’ll be all, “Bless her heart–well, that burnt-out spot where her heart would be if she had one–she thinks she’s speshul!” Give your kids a BIG HUG when you see them! Tell them you are SO happy to see them! Ignore OW or do the courtesy, “Theeeeeeeeeenx!” Make the hand-off about your kids, not about you. They will appreciate the lack of tension, and YOU WIN! You control you! OW turd might even ramp up the crazy if she isn’t getting to you. You, of course, will document that shit. (Then put the phone AWAY before you drive off with your kids.) Drive away and, instead of freaking out about OW, you be giddy for your kids and ask them how they are, and what they’ve been up to! Ask them if they need anything–because you know fuck-head and the twat don’t take care of their needs. Narcs are all about themselves, not about the kids. You focus on the kids.

    Ohhhhhh, honey, you GOT this!!

  • You trigger because you think she has something you don’t have. You are right, she does. She has the mf’ing asshole who thinks only of himself and could give an owl’s hoot about you, the kids or anyone else, including the OW who he would walk over, if she was dying, to get to his next kibble and you don’t.

    Yippee!

  • K-Mom,

    My situation is much like yours. I am vulnerable to being triggered a few times each day as my cheater moved across the street and breaks vows, custody orders, and laws about as often as he eats. I am also vulnerable because, for months, instead of sending support checks, he sent hate mail and waged an extremely costly, hostile and unethical legal battle (which continues). What gets me through (most of the time) is thinking of my cheater’s harassment as conditioning for dealing with every other uncomfortable event or situation in life. Every time I calmly deal with his juvenile tantrums, I get tougher. I think that, in a lot of cases with narcs, chumps want to appease (perhaps partly because they sometimes doubt themselves and narcs feed on that doubt). However, to most narcs, conciliatory gestures are interpreted as, ‘My tactic worked; next time I want something from Chump, I’ll just throw another tantrum.’

    More custody time for bullying narc and disordered OW mean, most likely, mentally unhealthier children and chump. You are the rational, stable parent. For all these reasons and more, I urge you not to cave on physical custody.

    I would love to have primary physical custody, a boyfriend, or even a job which would support my kids by the date of dissolution. Your ex and OW sound very insecure and likely want you to be as unhappy as they are. YOU are winning! And YOU have a solid platform to start a magnificent new life.

  • I hate to say it, K-Mom, but you are totally playing into their game by doing things like telling them OWife triggers you and forbidding her to go to kid’s school events and such. Not only does that give the disordered pair a HUGE serving of kibbles and enjoyment, but it makes you look vindictive and emotionally frail. If push comes to shove, and the ex goes to court to get 50/50, a judge is NOT going to find it reasonable that you expect your ex’s wife to not attend school functions. You don’t indicate that your kids have a problem with the Owife, so you are going to have to suck it up and let that go. I totally understand how you feel, but the courts are likely to view it as an attempt at parental alienation and completely unreasonable on your part.

    You have a new boyfriend, your life has moved on. Please get therapy ASAP to help let go of the feelings towards your ex and the OWife. They really aren’t worth the power you are giving them over your life. I suggest fake it til you make it — keep a smile on your face when encountering the ex and the Owife, and hold your head high. Stop giving them so much attention, and they will have to turn elsewhere for their kibbles.

  • Hi K-mom, it’s all been said – I’ll just rephrase it rather harshly. The woman your ex married is no longer the OW, she is his wife. Your boundary is not reasonable with small children in the mix. I do not discount your trauma, it took me a long time to get past my own. However, the court would find your repeated requests unreasonable, and possibly detrimental to your children’s well being. The fact your ex’s *wife* wants to be involved with his children is better than if she resented them. You need to act rationally even when you feel the opposite. And it is not unknown for an ex to get married and challenge custody because the other parent is single, you are single. Obviously you do not want the custody arrangement to change, so you say no to your ex, maybe adjust how often he has the kids, if that’s the reasonable thing to do for the kids. Otherwise, he can take you to court. If he does, what you’ve been demanding will be used against you. So stop it.

    I agree with CL and other posters, you must find a way to take back your power and re-frame the situation. That woman did you a favor, period – the shit you went through was caused by your ex. The woman could have been anyone who lacked ethics & empathy. Keep your shit together around them so the two of them do not get 50/50 and your kids can be brought up mostly by you.

    When my anxiety was at it’s worse and I was unable to cope, getting pissed off helped. It re-channeled the fear so I could cope. Laughing at my own fear, finding ways to make it ludicrous when it really wasn’t also helped. I don’t know if these things will have any effect on your anxiety, just a thought.

    Jedi Hugs K-mom! You can get through this, may the force be with you!

    • Dat, great points. When you’re dealing with a controlling person, it’s often tempting to be controlling in kind. Why? Because you know at a gut level that this person doesn’t have your best interests at heart, you don’t trust them, you feel they would hurt you if they could. There’s no mutuality or respect in decision making. So chumps try and CONTROL outcomes, like K-mom is doing — don’t come near me! don’t touch my kids! Instead of the harder work of controlling ourselves, our own lives and the big what next’s. Which is the tougher mental work of reframing, etc.

      Trying to control one of these freaks is an exercise in misery. You just have to get away and try and mitigate the damage best you can by being the sane parent for your kids. And as you write, to the court, you always want to appear (and be) the sane, cooperative parent who Is Trying.

      I speak from experience here, the disordered will hang themselves given enough rope. The chump’s job is to keep his/her side of the street clean. (Mixing my metaphors…)

      • “Trying to control one of these freaks is an exercise in misery. You just have to get away and try and mitigate the damage best you can by being the sane parent for your kids. And as you write, to the court, you always want to appear (and be) the sane, cooperative parent who Is Trying.”

        This is SO, so true. My situation just came to an end, and my ex lost. Big. Time.

        He decided about this time last year to go for full custody. He was SO convinced that his abusive tactics had everyone under his spell and control, so that he could pull it off. *Nothing* could have been further from the truth. All I had to do was be myself, and shut my mouth. Voila. Idiot revealed.

  • I think I love you chump lady… And to those that recommended EMDR -I love you too. I knew I was experiencing PTSD but did not have tools to help. Nightmares, loss of appetite, insomnia, crying all day every day, ongoing triggers, paranoia, mistrust, etc. Some things are better but still great to have tools to help cope! This site and all the comments, advice has been one of the only empowering things I have felt since my world exploded. Thank you all. Now I’ll go shed a few more, then get myself organized.

    • You will make it through Willow. EMDR will help you process, it always helps to be DOING something that helps ourselves – so yes, go get organized. Jedi Hugs Willow! (your name happens to be the same as one of my favorite movies, it’s very old though)

  • I have a couple of things to add to all the wonderful posts today.

    KMom…..time to embrace your inner bitch. Do I mean go all postal on their sorry butts……nope. I mean, pull up your big girl panties, get in touch with your inner sense of Fuck You over your false sense of “I need to be fair…..IE: chumpiness…….and get prepared to act your ass off whenever you see either of them.

    Use that anger, Girlfriend. It is energy there to help you protect yourself and your kids. Think of your non-reacting acting as preparation for the Oscars except that the prize you win will be so much more than a simple gold statue. I’m talking about self respect, a renewed sense of personal power because you cannot be pushed around by their manipulative B.S. Add to that a better sense of self worth because you are treating yourself as a strong capable, loving, centered woman who is in control of herself, not like a pitiful victim. One more plus is that they cannot paint you as crazy in an attempt to mess with current custody arrangements. Don’t give them the satisfaction. A quote I love…. lifted from another site is….”They can’t drive you crazy if you don’t give them the keys!”

    If you keep it all business and don’t react you won’t be fun anymore and I guarantee they will move on to other things because they will get bored. The same thing will happen with school functions……you don’t react = no kibbles = hey this crap is booooring= they will eventually stop showing up.

    Meanwhile…..remember……as Tracy said….
    B….Being
    I…..In
    T…..Total
    C…Control of
    H….Herself

    And the best revenge is to live well………..sans cheater.

    Like Miss Sunshine said…Honey, You Got This!

    • Tessie, you are spot on. I was so righteously pissed off, I looked right through that man I was chumped by; I mean literally. I would not make eye contact. He might have been a fly buzzing in the room. Everything looks better when they are not in your focus. Yes, it boggles their mind. HEY, LOOK AT ME!! Nope.

      And reordering your life to your own specs works wonders too. No more eating over the sink or in front of the TV. I sit down at the table like a civilized person, and I like it. Making your own rules and choosing your own boundaries is empowering. Creating a good life is an artistic endeavor. K-Mom, take this opportunity to show the differences between what you had and what you like. Inch by inch, you will take yourself back, and you will be better for it.

  • Getting to “MEH” and accepting that the OW did me a favor (taking the narcissist cheater and abuser off my hands)… is the best feeling. Not always easy but peaceful for sure. I have sole custody… and yep I am to blame for everything (according to them… and their flying monkeys). Don’t care! My child’s healthy upbringing is WAY more important than what they think about me. Don’t give him more time or more power to control!! Stick to the order! Create a healthy environment for you and your kids… showing them a better way to live. Yes, it’s an uphill battle… but we will get there together!!

  • I could have written this. Here’s what I do now. I pull up to the house, music not quite blaring, but all about that base. Big smile when kids walk to car. Take my sweet time with seat belts and texting before pulling away. I control that whole pick up drop off scene. Took me a long time.

  • Having experienced the same mind games, I found it best to be reading something when she parades the kids to the car. Then just welcome them in and drive off. No need to even make eye contact with the skank.

  • K-Mom,

    You’ve done a lot of the hard work to get your life in order. You’re divorced, you have the bulk of custody and time with your child and child support, and you have some sort of routine for exchange of custody.

    Now, why is there ANY contact other than the minimum needed? Why are you subjecting yourself to your X’s demands and complaints about custody? You need to establish your own protocols for dealing with ExH. There is NO reason to be in any sort of contact with OW, as she does not have custody rights and is not a parent, but a step parent. I speak here as a stepparent–and one who had an excellent relationship with the exW of my former husband (not a cheater) and therefore as someone who knows that good relationships grow out of respect for boundaries, which is impossible for the disordered. So your first priority is to set your boundaries and turn your attention to your own life with your children. Create a NO DRAMA zone in your life.

    1. Everything starts with “NO CONTACT.” You write, “I also get told time and time again how fucked up I am for not accepting of my children’s stepmom a.k.a OW” and that XH is still verbally abusive. That kind of verbal abuse is impossible if you are not contact.
    2. Send no communication that is not absolutely necessary and decide what medium you will use for ordinary communication. Someone above suggests sending routine one-line emails about custody drop-off, etc. It would be great if the email read exactly the same every time. “Daughter will be picked up at 6 p.m. at your home.” As little variation as possible. In the case of new information, Send the shortest communication possible: Daughter had a dentist visit today and will need braces. Treatment protocol and cost estimate attached. Insurance will cover $X Balance will be $X. Your share is $X, per custody agreement. Here is the dentist office # if you wish to discuss payment plan for your share. If you need to, have a friend or sensible relative read what you write before you send. I often send sensitive emails to a smart person for review before I hit “send.” It’s a smart habit.
    3. Never, ever, use text messages. They are a recipe for rapid, instant stupid arguments that can be used in court against you and that keep you hooked emotionally.
    4. Don’t use the phone unless it is an emergency. And know what an emergency really is–in this case, something about the health and well-being of the kids. And make sure that even in an emergency, you take five minutes to gather your thoughts, slow your breathing, and plan what you will say, what info you want to convey, what info you need, and how you will end the conversation.
    5. The question about how your X got BF’s email is a good one. But close that avenue of contact, at least insofar as it affects you. BF can handle his own business. Let him.

    Everyone is correct in that you can’t control OW. Your kids are squarely in the middle and you need to get them out of that position by focusing on your own life. A friend of mine had to endure the presence of OW at her daughter’s lovely wedding this summer. My friend, sadly, had let her own life go for a long time and looked very beaten down 6 months before the wedding. But she rallied! She lost weight, got her hair done, bought a gorgeous, classy dress and was her kind and shining self at the wedding. OWife wore an inappropriate cocktail sparkly gold dress and was treated to her H flirting with a lot of other women. Indeed, she won a dubious prize. If you are happy in your own life, looking and feeling your best, you won’t fall into the trap of focusing on what the two cheaters are doing. And remember that (no matter how painful it seems, that someday you may be remarried and want your new husband to be comfortable at school plays, etc.

    What do you need to do to manage the PTSD? That is priority 1, after setting up NO Contact. I have PTSD myself. It’s my responsibility to recognize what triggers me and to work on that stuff. I hardly ever get triggered anymore because I see managing my emotional and psychological self as part of my life every day–yoga, exercise, prayer, meditation, therapy. I read and learn. So put your energy on you. Your NPD ex and the Owife will just be people who are part of your children’s lives.

  • Someone may have pointed this out already, as I have not read all the responses. But, in my case, and in talking to others who have been in a relationship with a NPD or other cluster B PD person, it seems there is a bit of a lag time before the habits we formed to allow us to survive with these folks ( i.e deferring to them, walking on eggshells in fear of their wrath/venom, avoiding conflict at all costs and even lying to them about innocuous things we have done as these can trigger them and cause a shitstorm) go away.
    I know for me, for about a year or so with my first cheating XW, I would still comply with just about all of her requests. I was going to her house, changing storm windows, mowing grass, helping with the kids on her days etc.)
    It had just become such a habit, trying to be nice and accommodating to avoid conflict. It was never appreciated, just expected of me , the peasant/servant.
    Then , one day, a light switch flipped. I realized she had no power over me and could not impact my life in the least anymore. Who cared if she was glowering alone at home. I would , simply hang up on her when she became profane ( invariably she would call back and apologize for ” our” conflict ( no, it was her abuse, not mine).
    Anyway, give yourself some time. Just realize this guy is impotent to do anything to you. He can rant, threaten etc, but , ignoring him is the best way to handle it ( and as a side benefit, generally drives NPDs crazier than they already are).

  • K-Mom, I am lucky that my kids are adults so no custody battle with STBX but if they were younger my strategy would be to make them think I was the happiest camper on the planet even if I wasn’t. Like a lot of our fellow Chumps have said, you just let Mrs. Sloppy Seconds walk up to the car, give her the biggest shit eating grin you can muster, hug those kids and drive off like you have a million interesting places to go before bedtime. Same with school functions. Give the ex and Mrs. S.S. a wave, and go on your way, schmoozing with the other parents, laughing with your friends, etc. Let them know through your actions that you have never been happier. That is the best revenge.

  • In honor of MLK Day today……this was one of his famous quotes.
    “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”

    I haven’t read all of todays posts yet but this reminded me of another CL post a while back ago where the topic was about ‘friends’ or so-called friends who want to remain in the neutral postion with chumps & cheaters.

  • K,
    My heart goes out to you. Clearly he is trying to harass you and get under your skin with the emails to your boyfriend. He is trying to get kibbles from you. He clearly hasn’t let go and is having a hard time moving on. Perhaps he had hoped for more chumpiness from you and instead you had the nerve to move on and get a boyfriend. If he could get rid of boyfriend perhaps you would come back and throw more kibbles his way.

    The OW must be a narcissist too – so they deserve each other and the karma bus will come sooner rather than later. You can help that karma bus arrive sooner by getting their mutual attention off of targeting you (and I am sure continuing blaming you for any friction they might have and keeping the dynamic of THEM against evil YOU). Force them into finally dealing with the fact they are both narcissistic assholes and give them the opportunity to turn on each other.

    I completely agree with others that if OW had to actually show up to school events etc that she would realize quickly the pleasure of tormenting you wasn’t worth having to sit through the school functions. I love my kid but don’t miss those functions for one second.

    My advice is to a) if she comes to a school event – sit with a group of friends for support and be in a deep conversation with them so that it appears you don’t even notice OW is present. She is there to bug you – so make it appear you don’t notice her existence. B) when you have to pick up the kids at XH house, bring some large newspaper to read while waiting for the OW to parade over to the car – that way you can appear to be completely disinterested in her, not have to watch her parade over and pretend to be completely absorbed in your reading. A newspaper is large enough to hide your face behind. Make her knock on the car window to get your attention. You could even ask her to wait a second while you finish the article. Other variations might include playing music loudly in the car and being absorbed in singing along, listening to an NPR story and asking her to wait while you have a “driveway moment” to hear the end or be deeply engaged in a cell phone conversation that means you don’t even notice her pesence and just distractedly motion her (like the hired help) to let the kids in the car – The point is to send a message LOUD and CLEAR the OW doesn’t even merit notice. Think orbit as a game to come up with new tactics to appear disinterested.

  • Good post for me today. While I am NC except for kids and finances, I admit that I still let the ex and OWife get under my skin from time to time. I am mostly frustrated by my ex and his cheater wife’s constant attempts to blame any difficulty that they have with my kids on me. If they are having a hard time over there because the Owife is being a bitch, it isn’t because she’s being a bitch– it’s because I must be telling the kids that she is a bitch, and they are treating her accordingly. I am trying my hardest not to care, and I think that I’m getting better at it, but I admit that most of my feelings stem from indignation– how dare they pin their troubles on me after everything that they’ve done!

    However, I know that I need to get over that because if my kids indicate any indignation on my part to the cheaters, then they’ve won– they are still successfully triangulating by keeping me well within their little messed up dynamic, and I continue to fuel the fire that keeps their relationship exciting. They get to continue playing Us against the Bitter Ex-Wife, and the sooner I get to meh, the sooner that the real-life doldrums of an everyday relationship will settle in with them.

    K-Mom, I also have primary custody. If my ex ever tried to angle for 50/50, it would also only be because he doesn’t want to pay child support anymore, not because he actually wants to spend more time with them. I would very happily tell him to take me to court, and after almost three years of being the primary custodian (and I haven’t become a drug dealer, prostitute, etc. in that time), I think that any judge would laugh at him since the kids are thriving and have become accustomed to that routine (and it was signed off on by a judge when we finished mediation). Don’t let him intimidate or bully you– you have to do what is best for your kids, and a 50/50 split with a narc is NOT what is best for your kids. Plus, a judge isn’t going to instantly go for 50/50 if custody is appealed– my lawyer told me that it’s very rare. Obviously, there were reasons that you were made the primary custodian, and unless you’ve become a danger to your kids, a judge is going to be very reluctant to change that arrangement.

    I wish us both a speedy road to “meh.” Believe me, I get two steps closer and then take a step back when my ex plays the blame game with the kids, and then they come home and tell me. I think it takes a while to develop a thick skin, and since it’s only been about 2.5 years since I moved out of the marital home (and then everything moved with lightning speed to make the OW into the Owife), I’m being kind to myself. This shit takes some time to adjust to!

  • My ex wife, even though she was a serial cheater and also cheating on a loser who thought he was the only other man, fought for 50/50 custody. The thing is, she put herself in dangerous situations with virtual strangers…but she believed she was a good mom. I know, she fought for 50/50 to maintain her image, if I had gotten full custody it would have damaged her brand.
    She was court ordered for psychiatric evaluation and was diagnosed as bi-polar. With the promise to take her meds she got the 50/50 custody.

    I knew it wouldn’t last, within a short time she hooked up with a man from out of state and left to marry him. She see’s the kids for a day or two each month.

    Good riddance, I know my kids are better off without her drama and dysfunction.

    Most often, the disordered don’t really want the kids, they just want to maintain their brand and find pleasure in denying you fairness.

    I have perfected the grin fuck…I won’t let her bait me and I realize that even after they leave they derive pleasure from trying to push your buttons.

    It is what is, and they will try to drag you down to their level. Think with your brain and not your emotions. Getting to meh is rising above the blatant attempts to create havoc. These are folks afflicted to drama and it’s just the way they operate.

    Once you step away from crazy it’s like breathing fresh air. Looking back I had become acclimatized to crazy, that being with crazy was normal. It’s not normal, it’s toxic and slowly kills your spirit.

    Do not allow them into your emotions because they will use your emotions against you.

  • K-mom,

    I am sorry you have found yourself is such a triggering mess.

    like always, I think CL’s advice is spot on. please follow her advice, especially “2. STOP triggering. Yes, me, Chump Lady. I’m telling you to get over it. Is the OW a piece of shit? Yes she is. But she’s also a piece of shit who took a highly disordered person off your hands. You need to trust that he sucks. The corollary to Trust That He Sucks is — she didn’t win a prize. She “won” a highly disordered person who I guar-an-fucking-tee will make her life miserable. But the best way around that misery — disordered spackle, if you will — is to continue in the fantasy that SHE WON and you just can handle her happiness! So STOP playing into their fantasy by performing your recurring role as Embittered First Wife Who Can’t Get Over It. ”

    I know K-mom, this is not easy. Trusting that they didnt WIN by taking our cheater exes from us, is hard. I myself am having a hard time believing that the AP actually did me a favor by taking my ex away from me. But, like CL said, for as long as we keep playing in their fantasy, we are gonna remain stuck and we wont believe that they SUCK.

    any attention to you give to them is kibbles, so STOP that. Your kids will grow fast and when they can decide for themselves, hopefully they can see that their dad sucks also. Meanwhile, you abide by the court order, work on your new relationship, and make the best of the time you DO have with your children. The best gift you can give them (children) is your time and when you waste time/energy on your ex and his new sucky wife, you cant give your children your undivided attention. Remember that regardless of how much interaction the OW has with your kids, she CAN NEVER REPLACE YOU, NEVER! So time to put on your “I dont care” glasses on and give your ex and OW an indifferent attitude.

  • Heard this on another site, simply said, “not my circus, not my monkey!” His antics are not your circus, he’s no longer your monkey. We may be chumps but better than being chimps!

  • Narcs begin the devaluing process as soon as they are sure they have you trapped. In your case K, the ex has married the OW, so now he is getting busy devaluing her. Narcs also triangulate, as mentioned in above posts, my past experience tells me that your ex will be saying to the OW now wife, oh K was so good at that, K always did xyz for me, k never needed sleep, food, money, or whatever. She will be constantly hearing from him how amazing you were to devalue her and also to set her against you and also to make her work harder to please him, He will be sitting back enjoying the show and marvelling at his own greatness. Of course he would never say to you how wonderful you are, that is part of the sick mindfuckery of the narcs behaviour, praise is given behind your back and only in order to manipulate and devalue other people. So look at the prize she got, a life of trying to please the unpleasable. You are so lucky to be out of that and if you take the no contact advice given by others here MEH will come along sweetly. You are a good mum and a good person don’t forget to be good to yourself, you deserve it.

  • K-Mom

    There is a famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that says: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” The same is true about the Owife triggering you. The Owife can’t trigger you without your consent so take it back, plain and simple. I know it seems like it’s easier said than done but please consider something else.

    What if your ex and the Owife are doing things to trigger you just so they can make you look crazy in case they decide to bring the custody issue to couart? I think it’s very possible this has all been purposely orchestrated. Unfortunately, you’ve drawn them a road map and told them exactly what bothers you so chances are pretty good you’ll get much more of the same so he can provoke an outburst. Not to mention that he’s probably trying to goad your new boyfriend into reacting in a way that won’t be favorable in court.

    You have to be super careful. You were awarded full custody of your children for a reason. Don’t let your ex bully you into giving up that custody and certainly don’t give him a reason to be able to take it away from you. Someone here already said it once but it’s worth repeating-unfortunately since this woman is his wife, it’s your demands that are going to seem unreasonable. It’s perfectly acceptable for her to walk the kids out to the car or to go to their school functions.

    Is it fair? None of this shit is fair and I certainly sympathize but you could make a bad situation even worse than it already is. The courts don’t care about infidelity. They don’t care that your husband had an affair with this woman and now that he’s married to her, unless your children are in danger when they’re with them, they are never going to intervene on your behalf.

    I am so lucky that my children were adults before we split. None of this is an issue for me and unless there is a wedding, a christening or a graduation, I will never have to be in the same space as the ex and that is just dandy with me. If I do have to see him or the OW I will not give either of them the satisfaction of showing any emotion except for whatever is called for at the event we are all attending. If it’s soon I may have to fake it until I make it but I don’t care.

    A lot of chumps gave you some great suggestions about coping during your encounters with that horrible shit of a woman. Try to find some solutions that work for you and keep the thought in the back of your head that she did you a ginormous favor by taking that lying, cheating, cowardly, weasel off your hands. He’s her problem now and trust CL, that’s not going to end well for either of them.

  • K-mom,

    You’ve received a lot of good advice here.

    Two things to add:

    1. The more you engage the OW and your ex, the longer you prolong their relationship. You are the hypotenuse, the common enemy, that is holding up their relationship. Without the drama, the fighting with you, their relationship will become mundane and/or they will turn on each other. If you want to hasten the demise of their relationship, just step out of the drama.

    2. Do the fellow parents at school know that the OW is an OW? Has your ex spun a false narrative about your break-up or have you hid the truth about their relationship from fellow parents for some reason? If the OW knows that other parents at the school know that she is an OW, I would hazard that she would be much less likely to show up at school functions.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Good luck. You are strong and will get through this.

    • I completely agree with Young – make sure the other parents at school know the truth about your XH and the OW. If OW knows that the other parents are on to her she is likely to stay away.

  • I’m with PF. My daughter ‘s dad, he of the aol chat room EA, fought hard to get 50/50 custody. Apparently in a no fault state even being violent when confronted about a secret PO box does not affect his right to joint custody.

    Never fear. As the years go by and he has continued to be reckless and unstable, having a child out of wedlock to whom he pays hundreds of dollars of support, his interest in his daughter has waned and he now sees her 4-6 days per month. My income has tripled in that time.

    All parties are aware, including the baby mama, that I could go back to court any time and demand support equal to the half sibling.

    Why don’t I? Meh. My daughter has told me numerous times she spends adequate time with dad and gf. She doesn’t really wish to schlep from a home where she is treasured to a home where she’s an afterthought. I make enough money. He pays me the minimum amount. I figure the less he pays, the less say he has in our life.

    It’s kind of sad and pathetic for him, that he would scale back his role with one kid in favor of another, but that’s what narcs do. His daughter is now more a source of need than kibbles. While image management prohibits abandonment, going seasons and seasons never providing a single pair of shoes or doctor visit for a child never shows a public trace.

    I guess what I’m saying, K-Mom, is you’ve got this. You have full custody, and if you keep your cool and conduct yourself in a way you can be proud of, things will only get better. I’m to the point with this ex where I get a kick out of him waving an occasional 20 bucks my way like a little kid with a paper route. I hope what my daughter gets from this is to love as she wishes but never depend on a partner for her survival.

  • Can you arrange to have the exchanges done via a neutral third party? If you drop the kids off to school/daycare in the morning of exchange day, and he (or OW) picks them up in the afternoon, then you never have to see either of them. Then same thing in reverse when you get them back.

    When you see them less frequently, the occasional sighting during a school event where you don’t have to interact with them won’t be so bad to endure.

    Make all interactions businesslike. Pretend you are someone speaking on your behalf. If it doesn’t relate to the kid issue at hand, it doesn’t need to be said.

    If either of these people cared about your feelings, they wouldn’t have had an affair. Take away their opportunities to hurt your feelings instead.

    As for the 50-50 custody thing, he’s got to prove that his having increased access to the children would be best for them. A year ago, a judge decided it was not for the best. Has anything changed in the last year that makes that decision worth revisiting? Probably not. Especially if he’s harassing your boyfriend. That’s not the mark of a good, stable, man.

    • Oh, as soon as I hit post, it occurred to me. Can your boyfriend do the child dropoff for you? If the OW can deliver them to the end of the driveway, there’s no reason he can’t be the one in the car, right?

  • K-Mom – I know you must be feeling upset over this whole situation, particularly since you thought it would end once the divorce was final. As Chumplady and others have stated, this is an abusive narcissist who must prove he’s right by any any means necessary and it will ALWAYS be at your expense due to his insecurity and cruelty. The woman he’s with thinks she’s enjoying the prize at the moment, but she’ll soon be living in a world of madness and begging to be your friend. He’s not even smart enough to realize how his ridiculous e-mails are tools for your benefit, not his. Once you get through this, you’ll feel empowered. The great thing to know is that you have your kids. Hang in there and know that you are supported by everyone here who cares about your situation. The advice I see on here is always right on point and the people are awesome! Hugs…

  • Your Ex Husband is being a total A-hole. I totally agree with CL. You need to stop doubting yourself. Obviously, if he is “triggering you” you don’t want your children growing up thinking it’s ok to abuse someone, physically or verbally. If he has already emailed your boyfriend MULTIPLE TIMES with lies about you, what do you think he would say to your kids? I know your kids love their dad, but this behavior is immature and disgusting. Don’t let he or his bitchy wife mess with your head

  • I’m so sorry you’re going through this K-mom. My exH also tried to ruin my hopes of having a relationship after our divorce. It’s bad enough to be cheated on. It was ok for him to have a girlfriend while we were married but not ok for me to have a boyfriend after the divorce. Disordered thinking at its finest! The first date I went on was 5 months after the divorce. My exH came to that mans door while I was there. I answered the door and told my ex to go away but he drove around the block repeatedly until I left. A week later, my exH had a buddy call this man and “warn him” about me. There was nothing I could do about that, but when he started sitting outside my house, looking in my windows, and calling me over 100 times a day (106 to be accurate), I was able to get a RO. It expires next week and I’m scared to be honest. I’m not sure what to expect. For the past year, he’s had to go through my parents to arrange pick up and drop off for our daughter. He has a new gf now so hopefully things will be better…? My point is, you have options. Save the emails and any harassing communications you receive from him. Incidents of days, times, and witnesses are helpful. I had 9 witnesses for my RO case at court. I didn’t have to use any of them. His attorney could see he wouldn’t win and they consented to the order.

  • So, I’m not the only one who thinks that this is mindfuckery with a purpose. This fuckwad and his cum dumpster are trying to unseat you so that they can get the custody arrangement changed, or even get primary custody – so they don’t have to pay child support, or even that YOU have to pay THEM child support (which you can pretty much assure won’t be spent on the kids and just to further their own lifestyle). Right now they are pissed off at the fact that some of their money is being spent on the kids (they see it as being given to you instead), and of course the poor sausage narcs won’t like that at all! They would want primary custody for the financials, not for genuine care of your children.

    That being said – you’re in for the fight of your life. Time to take out that battle axe and cleave some heads off, metaphorically speaking.

    You need to make this like a business arrangement – strictly email contact unless there is a true emergency (and that is only if one of the children is seriously ill whilst in the care of him). If he tries to steamroller that boundary – you say “Phone contact is for an emergency only. Email me” *click*. If he starts getting verbally abusive over the phone, you just hang up. Don’t say “Stop being abusive” or “Don’t speak to me like that”, just hang up. Any words are kibble to him. If this is face to face, you drive off, or go into your house. Repeated steamrollers get documented into what might be used to obtain a restraining order. Ditto the fuckwitted emails from him to your boyfriend. All of this shows a pattern of abuse and bullying behaviours.

    The people you care about need to know the truth of whats happening (lest he gets in with the narrative first and paints you as a psycho). If they pull apologist shit and/or side with him, you cull them. The ones who side by you, can be your support base, especially when Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are around.

    As for Skankasaurus Rex – just act like shes invisible. Seriously. Don’t ask for her not to do anything/to interfere – shes beneath your notice. Asking these things will be all ego kibbles for her, she gets off on this shit. If she tries to talk to you, just ignore what she has to say. (Snarky me would be thinking “Do I hear a dog barking just now?”) If she does something completely inappropriate, or shows up to your children’s stuff, just find something to laugh about, especially in the company of said friends mentioned above. Phones work wonders too, for laughter material. I can nearly guarantee she will think you’ll be laughing about her – and it will make her squirm and get pissed off, but there won’t be a damn thing she can do about it. And if she does, well, its just more documentation.

    If you take the situation with the proverbial choke chain and ignore all of their words and actions towards you, yes, initially they will ramp it up to try and push your buttons – but then they will realise after a while it all does absolutely nothing. Or, from your point of view – it will end up being used against them.

    Just my $0.02

    • Yes, I agree. K-mom, you need to keep your cool, as your ex and the OW are likely trying to rattle you and provoke you into doing something you wouldn’t normally do and use that against you in some custody fight. They probably want to paint you as a mentally unstable, vindictive first wife who will put her hatred and desire for revenge above the best interest of her children. Don’t give them any ammunition they could use to support their argument. You want to be the happy, stable, cooperative parent who encourages her children’s relationship with the ex.

      I’m sure OW would love it if you got into some argument with her at some school function in front of the children. You have no obligation to talk to her. Just smile at her.

      Acting calm, cool, happy as a clam would serve you in two ways–would strengthen your defense in a custody case and will confuse your ex and OW and stop the kibble-feed to them. When you feel that you have a strong custody case, you will feel stronger and less threatened by ex and OW’s shenanigans.

  • I haven;t read all the comments yet, but have to leave a few words as something stood out for me in your letter big time.
    You wrote that you requested repeatedly for your children not to be accompanied to your car. This is a mistake to make. DO NOT tell this bitch what triggers you, you are telling her exactly what hurts you and I promise you she will take every opportunity to cause you pain.
    I know because this is exactly what I do to the OW.
    She writes to me hiding under my ex’s name, and I love her long vomit where she tries to prohibit me to drop off my girls personally, I make sure that this is exactly what I do.
    When she writes that I can have only contact with my ex through email, I make sure I have a few friendly words with him on skype.
    Its hilarious to see her go psychotic. It also helped me great deal to see how disordered this woman is.
    I was frightened of her before, felt sick just mentioning her name, now I just laugh at how insecure and pathetic she is.
    It will come to you in time, I promise.
    But for now on, do not tip them where it hurts you, they will have to do some guesswork first so it might get a bit crazy if there is no reaction from you.
    Just stick it out and be Happilly Indifferent!
    Lots of hugs to you

  • Had a couple more thoughts.

    1) Get a background check on your BF (and the Schmoopie, while you’re at it). THEY will get one on your BF I bet. You want to be prepared. (And you should do this really anyway whenever you want to get serious about someone).

    2) If they keep sending anonymous emails to your BF, that is Restraining Order material (harassment in my state – but check the laws in YOUR state). That does NOT look good for them in litigation.

    This is WAR.

    Whatever is in your custody agreement, you need to stick to it – even if THEY don’t (while documenting it the entire time). Any bad or snarky behavior on your part will NOT be helpful to you.

    When you write, do NOT respond to any emotional provocation. Stick to the issues facts. Be civil. That’s all you NEED to be. You don’t need to be their BFF’s.

    If they decide to go after 50-50% custody, they might get child custody experts involved. This will cost BIG $$ (like over $10k). Hopefully they won’t, but, if they do, those folks will evaluate you, the happy couple, and the kids.

    All of this? You really do need a therapist. And again one with child custody and court experience.

  • Be the thermostat, not the thermometer.

    In other words, don’t be reacting to their antics…Set the tone.

    Think of the long game…You want to keep your kids away from a Narcissist parent. To do that you need custody, which you have. So you need to adhere to the divorce decree and show that you are allowing access. Like others said, Keep a log of all the things you do for the kids. Keep a log every time you have the kidscontact or attempt contact. Every time they are supposed to pick up the kids but don’t, every time they couldn’t talk to Dad on the phone.

    As far a OW, deal with her as much as you have to (keeping in mind to be a Thermostat)…feel sorry for her because she, too, fell for the narcissist’s mask.

  • I could have easily wrote this letter. A little bit of advice from someone who has been there, done that…

    1) You WON! You have custody and deep down he does not want the kids more, he just wants to continue to hurt you. It is a control issue. Document, document, document EVERYTHING! If he starts in on 50/50 custody, look at him cooly and say, “Go ahead” and sit back and wait, chances are those summons will not come and if it does, you have your ammo.

    2) Trust they SUCK. She is insecure and wants to hurt you through the kids. Ignore that trash. Wow! She really got a prize! Chances are good he will cheat on her or she will cheat on him. Sit back and wait. Days you have to interact with her such as at school events, be sure your hair looks good, your makeup looks good and you are wearing your best outfit. You want to look good not only for yourself, but to rub it in their faces.

    2a) your kids are at the age where they will realize what is going on and they will realize on their own their “dad” and OW suck.

    3) When he is verbally abusive to you, walk away. If you are in the car, drive away or do not even roll down the window. If he does it over the phone, hang up. You do not have to put up with that ever again.

    4) Your boyfriend does not have to put up with it either. Consider a RO or a very strongly worded letter from your lawyer.

    5) Seriously consider getting therapy for you and your kids. If you work for a large company, they will have an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) or contact the local college or church.

    Good luck and happy thoughts to you. It DOES get better, just realize HE is HER problem now! Hahaha!

  • I am not currently going through a custody battle. Im terrified. My sons father denied his son and refused to meet his on for 2 1/2 years of his 3 years of life. I tried reaching out during my pregnancy and AFTER my sons birth to get his father involved and he didn’t care. He was living his life and got married and all. It took him 2 1/2 YEARS before he met HIS son because he did it when it was convenient for him. I DID NOT keep him from his son. He fought Child Support the first 2 1/2 years and than he took it to court and tried to appeal it and the judge denied it. The judge told him to stop fighting it and to get into his sons life and so he filed for visitation at 2 1/2 years remember after never meeting HIS son because he wanted nothing t do with it and only fought bc i was on assistance because at the time I could afford it but now I am financially stable and have a good job. Now that he filed for vistitation he filed for 50/50 custody. I have tried being reasonable in mediation and going for 60/40 and he DEMANDS 50/50. It amazes me he isnt willing to work out something and is worried about his selfish self because to me it seems like he wants out of the financial obligation. We werent married. Son was born out of wedlock. My son has only ever known my house for 3 years and his dad wants to rip him of a stable and healthy home to take him 50/50 and im terrified that he will try to manipulate the judge when we go to court. He isnt being reasonable or working with me at all. Hes come in the picture and trying to control me and the whole situation when he never met his son until he was 2 1/2. PLEASE HELP ME! He was on a step up plan and now every other weekend. He filed for temporary relief and we agreed to extra time for the month of December for the holidays. Im so scared he going to take that to the judge and feed him BS and how its working well and stuff. Im so scared im going to lose my son to this deadbeat who didnt give a HOOT for the last 2 1/2 years until he realized he couldnt fight CS anymore. I need help!!!

  • All these comments to me are way better than any therapist – well in a certain way I mean. To know how everyone is dealing with this and how much advice has been given is sooooo awesome!!! I was very down yesterday after getting some texts from my narc ex – his text are my trigger. I think I am getting better though to not react, ignore, and play cool. Thank You strong ladies for sharing your stories. I pray all your children thrive in spite of having a narc for a parent.

  • Speaking as a dad here, I’m suspicious of some things in the post:

    1) “Stepmom insists on walking kids to the car.” Well, the youngest is 5 years old – should he really be walking in the driveway or on the road without an adult?

    2) “He wrote 3 accusatory letters to my boyfriend.” Well, its classless and petty, but how does that affect the kids?

    3) “He had an affair”. Well, it sucks, but if its a stable marriage now, how does it affect the kids?

    4) Why is he narcissistic for wanting 50-50 and to build a good relationship with his kids? Especially since they’re now school age? I’m not saying it’ll be easy for him to get it now if he already agreed to give you full in the divorce, or that it’s in the kids best interest to change things. But I don’t see what’s wrong with him wanting it. wouldn’t you if the positions were reversed?

    Just to say here, there may be more behavior involved that I am not reading here. But I’ve seen nothing to suggest he would be a bad dad.

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