So once again, I had to wait for my husband to come back with our daughter from his parents’ this past Saturday. And once again, he was late. And once again, he tried to gaslight me. It’s getting old.
If you have been following me for a while, you know that the judge handling our divorce case has ordered that all communication concerning our daughter should be done through Our Family Wizard (OFW.) When he wants, he uses and abuses the system. But when he should be using it, he doesn’t.
Either way, earlier this week, he sent me over OFW a very long note about what our plans for the following two weekends should be (being those weekends the weekends of July 15-16 and July 22-23.) The note was long. What is important here is just the fact that he said that he was going to take our daughter to visit his parents either Saturday, or Sunday and that he was also going to take her to the community pool on the day that he would not be visiting his parents. The latter meant that I would have had my daughter with me for a shorter period of time on my day. (For the sake of this blog entry, I’m going to not talk about the coming weekend.)
He said that I could choose which day I wanted to have her. Soooo generous on his part, wouldn’t you agree? Letting me choose from two already bad options with no actual alternatives. Moreover, already acting as if he had absolute control over our daughter when the court has not even started our trial, yet.
In my experience, when it comes to a narcissist, if he or she gives you choices, they always seem to be one worse than the other one, leaving you no choice but to pick the least worst option of an already bad set.
Knowing how distraught our daughter always gets when she goes to visit her paternal grandparents, I always try to get Sundays. That way, I have time to calm her down and bring her back to normal as much as possible before Monday when I have to drop her with my mom for when we’re both at work. The other reason why I want her with me on Sundays is so I can take her to Mass with me.
When it comes to a narcissist, less is more. I’m learning to keep my answers, comments, information, and replies very short, especially on Our Family Wizard. That way, there are no opportunities for him to create drama, use me for narcissistic supply, twist my words, or set traps. I had gone as far as to ask my lawyer to help me draft some answers. But even with that, he will try to cause drama, as this blog entry proves it.
I sent him a very short reply, letting him know that I would have her on Sunday. I then proceeded to make all of my plans around his plans. I changed my original plans to accommodate for his late afternoon pool visit.
~ Side note: I don’t know why I keep on being considerate towards him. He’s anything but considerate towards me.
~ Note to self: He does not deserve your consideration anymore.
I was about to start preparing lunch for my daughter when he approached me and the following exchange took place:
– Him: What time are you leaving tomorrow? You’re going to Mass, right?
– Me (thinking ‘What is he going to do to me now?‘): Yes.
– Him: And then?
– Me (thinking why is it me the one who is subjected to an interrogation every time; I don’t ask him questions, most especially when he has already told me his schedule): Then we’ll come back here for lunch and then we’ll go out as planned.
– Him: Oh, you’re coming back?
– Me: Yes, as I stated on the event I created on OFW.
– Him: Oh, I didn’t see it.
(To myself: As usual. You haven’t even realized that the system allows to set up notification messages. Regardless of that, you only get in there when you want to control me; otherwise, it doesn’t even cross your mind to check it, just in case.)
– Him: Well, anyway. Where is her bathing suit? I need it.
– Me: Are you setting up a kiddy pool at your parents?
– Him; What? No. It’s for when we come back.
– Me: I’m confused.
– Him: I’m taking her to the pool once I’m back from mom and dad’s.
– Me: Ok, now I’m even more confused. The pool will be closed by the time you’re back.
– Him: No, it won’t.
– Me: Yes, it will. It closes at 7:00. You said that you were coming back at 7:00 or 8:00.
– Him: Oh, no. I’ll be back earlier than that.
– Me: So you’re changing your plans, then.
– Him: No, I’m not. I said that I was taking her to the pool once we would be back.
– Me (Already making an effort not to lose it since I was finding myself in the same exact situation with slightly different conditions or topic, as I had an uncountable times before): That’s not what your note on OFW said.
– Him: Yes, it was.
At this point, I was trying to make an incredibly conscious effort not to blow up at him. Once again, he had said that he would do one thing, only to change it at the last minute, and then try to make me think and convince me that I had misunderstood him. Gaslight anyone?
Taking an imaginary breath and finding my resolve, I firmly, but calmly said: Your note clearly stated that you were going to your parents’ one day, that you would be coming back at 7-8 from your parents, and that you were going to take her to the pool around 6:00 PM on my day. You’re clearly changing your plans right now, when you’re about to leave.
He kept looking at me with this typical lack of expression on his face that he wears when he’s trying to gaslight me, manipulate me, twist events or words, or get away with whatever he wants.
By the way, he never created his event on the system. I’m not sure he understands how that system works or its intentions because he only creates events in there when it concerns appointments for our daughter. He never creates events for his time with her, something I made a point of doing myself.
Enough is enough.
At that point I was thinking that I could have easily said ‘Whatever!‘ to myself and let him do both of his activities with her on the same day. But then I realized that I needed to stick to my guns. If once again, I would let him change plans, then nothing was going to change.
In the past, I had always adapted to his ever-changing plans and wishes. That was my mistake. I should have put my foot down long time ago. Actually, I did eventually. But I had not been firm enough. Now, he tries to manipulate things by trying to instill fear in me; fear that, if I don’t comply, he will file yet another [unfounded] complaint with the court [yet annoying enough for me to have to make concessions.]
What ended up happening was that I said I was no longer going to change anything in my life to continue to accommodate his needs or wants. That if an event was not on the OFW calendar, then it didn’t exist. E-mail messages were okay to touch base; however, an E-Mail message was not an event. Therefore, he needed to get into the habit of putting his events on the calendar.
Maybe I could have handled it a bit better. Not that I didn’t handle it well. What I’m trying to say is that I’m finally finding my voice once again. It will take me some practice to completely regain it. I let it go silent over all those years in my marriage. On the other hand, now I know certain things I didn’t know back then and I’m hoping that it will pay off. Either way, I’m proud of myself. I didn’t blow up and I just told him what I needed to say. I just hope that I get better at it as time goes by.