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I posted this on another thread on divorce but thought it worth posting here for anyone this might help.

Quick back story: I was married at 20 to a 32y/o man who was initially very confident. It became clear after years (I was naive) that this was OVER confidence and he constantly belittled me. Verbal abuse occasionally crossed over to physical abuse. Over the course of many years I became downtrodden. At first I admired him, then acted so superior I felt INferior to the point I had no confidence in my ability to make my own decisions. After 10 years I became pregnant on the pill and gave birth to a baby girl in January 1999. I was a SAHM for 2 years during which we sacrificed a car for that luxury and I was stuck. I realized I needed to leave him, got a job and after 2 more years finally consulted an attorney and left.

We tried 50/50 - 3 days/4 days alternating. When she started kindergarten I could see this didn't work as our schedules were very different. He was letting her stay up past 11pm, not reading aloud to her or doing any simple homework and getting her to school late. Typical Disney Dad was all I was thinking. I filed for custody and won. He saw her every other weekend and an overnight of his choice the other week.

During this time he visited her without my knowing - stopping by before- and after-school care every morning and afternoon, taking her for ice cream or the park and dropping her back off at daycare. I say this because alienating a custodial parent is difficult but he was persistent. He visited her nearly daily at school at lunch. He called daily, talking to her for 30+minutes a night and always calling to say goodnight. He made sure she knew he viewed her as the center of his world and enmeshed their personalities - what he liked, she liked and vice versa... including me.

He blamed everything on me and I thought I was taking the high road by not taking the bait and not talking about him. He called social services claiming all kinds of crazy stuff - the file is long with everything unfounded - I live in the proverbial glass house. He called the police to check on me saying she sounded scared when he said goodnight so they would knock on my door and talk to her. Anything to prove to her that her well being was the center of his universe.

Summer of 2009 - we are both allowed 2 non-consecutive weeks of summer vacation with her, and he had selected the week school let out and also coincided with his regular weekend for 10 days. That last day of school, Friday at 4pm I was served with emergency temporary custody and he kept her away from me for a month. The Judge ruled it was not an emergency and scheduled hearing for July 7th, a month later.

By this time he had blocked contact with me and brainwashed her. She was 10 and she was terrified of me, she hated me. She wanted to live with him and never see me again - my heart broke. I could not imagine letting her go and knew if I did not fight I would never have a relationship with her. The judge ordered her back into my care but he filed for custody. I enlisted a guardian ad litem, borrowed money from family to pay legal expenses, asked for a court ordered psych eval of all parties and a parental fitness evaulation.

3 years and 40K in debt (well $30K now - paid down) and worth every freakin penny. He is limited to 3 15-minute calls a week; 2 weeks of vacation not to exceed 7 consecutive days. He was diagnosed w/ narcissistic personality disorder and the psychologist found he was utilizing parental alienation techniques and she had been alienated from me by brainwashing. His disorder meant he viewed me as unfit to parent and he was the perfect, faultless parent. The psychologist found him overly permissive with her, didn't set appropriate parental guidelines, etc. whereas I was found to improve my parenting skills (visited a family counselor for years to help her with the divorce) and to be a good and fit parent.

The first year: no hugs (I'd hug but her arms would hang at her sides), no I love you's, very wary of me (and my family and friends) and rebellious, especially for 2 days after her weekend with him. At a year - finally a hug. Then allowed me to kiss her good night. Then after I said "I love you" I'd get a "you, too" but not all three words. After 3 years she will now hug, snuggle, tell me she loves me, ask me to tuck her in... I can't imagine what life would be like had I not FOUGHT for her. And fought hard.

It's called parental alienation syndrome. Usually it's the mother doing it and usually it's the custodial parent. Mine was backwards in both ways and highly unusual but it happened. An outsider would be stunned to hear the details of my story - it was so crazy it sounded like fiction/drama. Please read about it if this describes your situation or someone you know.

Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome Home Page

Divorce Poison is a book I read full of techniques I utilized to get her back mentally. Reminding her of all of the times she loved me with photographs, recreating them, watching movies like "Hook" where the lost boys brainwashed Peter, opened dialog, had friends make positive comments about me around her all of the time, etc. Dr. Warshack's (author) advice was instrumental in salvaging our relationship.

So glad to have a normal, happy, giggly 13 year-old who shares thoughts on boys, friends, school, etc. with me. :)
 

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That sounds terrible. Glad you got through it. I'm sorry to hear that your ex could be so nasty when both parents matter so much to a child. To exploit the situation is just plain rotten.
 

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Oh another person that has shared life with an N, my estranged is trying to say all sorts of things about me harming my babies, i'm lucky as he is 5,000 miles away. He says awful things like my child had pills and she wanted to stab him, saying that i tell her these things and what i do to make them like that, i fully understand brainwashing, he'll totally disregards times, keeping our 5 year old on the phone for hours if he can, getting her to call him late into the night, then saying it is her fault as she calls him, taking no adult responsibility.

They are truly crazy, i do worry about our children and how he behaves, i want them to know their father but i feel at what cost

Your post scares the **** out of me also though, because he could take my children and he'd think he would be doing the right thing, because that is how they think.
 

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Wow, thanks for sharing your story. It's hard to read but I am so glad you fought for your daughter. What an awesome and caring mom you are! Your story is much like a movie, someone ought to write a film about it. Even before you mentioned the N diagnosis, I had a hunch that was what was going on. I hope others who are truly dealing with PAS or even have a hunch, read this and learn from it.

Thankfully I'm not dealing with PAS but I do think my ex has N traits. Although I haven't had to go through this, (and hopefully never do) this was enlightening and beneficial for me to read.

Thanks again for sharing.
 

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Oh my goodness! What a long and terrifying road. I am so happy that you were able to do what it took to get your daughter back. What an evil man. I cannot stand people using/taking advantage of children. I hope all continues to be well! What an encouraging story of never giving up! Enjoy your daughter!! :)
 

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I went through that during my divorce.

My eldest daughter didn't speak to me for three years. Now we're close and she has little to do with her mom.

It can backfire on the alienator, the child gets older, smarter, and eventually realizes they're being told things about the other (targeted) parent that makes no sense.

It can take time. Sometimes a lifetime.
 

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He was diagnosed w/ narcissistic personality disorder and the psychologist found he was utilizing parental alienation techniques and she had been alienated from me by brainwashing.

The first year: no hugs (I'd hug but her arms would hang at her sides), no I love you's, very wary of me (and my family and friends) and rebellious, especially for 2 days after her weekend with him. At a year - finally a hug. Then allowed me to kiss her good night. Then after I said "I love you" I'd get a "you, too" but not all three words. After 3 years she will now hug, snuggle, tell me she loves me, ask me to tuck her in... I can't imagine what life would be like had I not FOUGHT for her. And fought hard.

It's called parental alienation syndrome. Usually it's the mother doing it and usually it's the custodial parent. Mine was backwards in both ways and highly unusual but it happened.
This post was very unusual, and interesting. I followed it here from another of your posts about him ringing up about a birthday arrangement.

I would like to know more about these things in bold.

It is claimed by certain male posters that women are attracted to male narcissists, at least at first. Yet they don't sound attractive to me.

I suppose you could say the same in reverse too - lots of gullible guys respond to attention-seeking girls who 'pretend' to be unhappy on facebook and whatever, but the girl is just soaking up attention.

But in the case of men, how does his concrete practical behaviour differ from someone who is simply vain/egotistical/uncaring or is it in fact very common, and the traits I've described are the same person?

With regard to the brainwashing of your daughter, it looks like he did a very thorough job in such a short space of time. It seems to have taken ten times the effort to unpick, than it took him to instill.

Did he brainwash you too? If you don't mind, can you tell me if there were any specific incidents in the beginning of your relationship where your gut was telling you "he's doing something weird to me" or "what's going on with me?" and yet, you ignored the warnings? Maybe there weren't any. Do you now remember the warnings of a friend/parent?

Thanks :)
 

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This post was very unusual, and interesting. I followed it here from another of your posts about him ringing up about a birthday arrangement.

I would like to know more about these things in bold.

It is claimed by certain male posters that women are attracted to male narcissists, at least at first. Yet they don't sound attractive to me.

He was confident, older - which to me seemed much more mature than the men my age at 20; he was in law school, prior military so seemed intelligent; he had traveled in the military which made him seem more wordly. All of these things appealed to a naive girl from the country. If you learn about true narcissists, they are very charming when you meet them. He could talk about nearly any subject and be the life of the party. You don't see the ugly part until later

I suppose you could say the same in reverse too - lots of gullible guys respond to attention-seeking girls who 'pretend' to be unhappy on facebook and whatever, but the girl is just soaking up attention.

But in the case of men, how does his concrete practical behaviour differ from someone who is simply vain/egotistical/uncaring or is it in fact very common, and the traits I've described are the same person?

One of the biggest is lack of empathy. He could hear a story about a homeless person and would blame the homeless person for being weak, unmotivated, stupid, etc. He made fun of people - everyone was 'less' than him. If he saw an overweight person he made fun of them behind their back and never considered they might have a disorder (rare, but still... we're adults not kids on a playground).

He did not care about anyone else. It may SEEM like he did but once you got to know him you'd realize there was something in it for him. I was cute, young, smart yet easy to mould; I made him look good. He pressed for sex even if I was sick - it was always about him. He would visit his Mom to look like a good son but it was to make HIM look good so she could brag to her senior friends.

Even our daughter - he would take her everywhere which initially looked like a doting father yet he got VERY annoyed if she was fussy, or needed anything because that did not fit with his agenda. He crushed toys if they were loud and he was on a business call in the living room instead of taking the portable phone to his office. He would make her perform like a puppet and do acrobatics for friends to show off and he would get very angry if she was tired or didn't want to. He never thought about how SHE felt about any of it. Her purpose was to serve him - make him look good.


With regard to the brainwashing of your daughter, it looks like he did a very thorough job in such a short space of time. It seems to have taken ten times the effort to unpick, than it took him to instill.

It actually took many years but I was unaware of the time he was spending with her. My hours and her school hours meant he would go to before-school care, go to after school care, get her ice cream and spoil her appetite for dinner and I wouldn't know why. Finally I found out that he was visiting her daily, several times. He went to school nearly every day at lunch. He called every night at bedtime and talked TO her (not with - she was often silent) for 30 minutes or more. He was literally spending just as many hours a day with her as I was.

I was glad he was an involved parent - I never knew he was brainwashing her - changing her memories and insinuating negative things about me the whole time. He made her keep secrets which made her feel special - instead they were secrets that were used against me. She KNEW when he picked her up the last day of school that she wasn't going back. What kid can keep a secret like that? She packed a photo of us. Now I know why.


Did he brainwash you too? If you don't mind, can you tell me if there were any specific incidents in the beginning of your relationship where your gut was telling you "he's doing something weird to me" or "what's going on with me?" and yet, you ignored the warnings? Maybe there weren't any.

Yes and no. I guess I wasn't brainwashed because I knew it wasn't right. First sign we were dating and I was getting a shower and he was pressing to get in with me. I don't like to share the spray - I get cold. He got angry and said I wasn't fun or sexually adventurous. He didn't understand I don't like sharing my showers and he didn't really care how I felt about it. My natural people-pleasing, easy-going way acquiesced, not realizing this was a sign of bigger things. I had this picket fence image of what our life would be like because I grew up like that and I assumed my life would be the same way. I just kept trying to be the good wife, going along with his plans. If my opinion differed, I'd be called stupid or short-sighted - he would leverage his 12 year seniority and talk down to me. He could make so much sense when trying to persuade. So even when I didn't want to buy a Mercedes or a boat or a 3400 sq ft house, he made it seem doable. In the end, he nearly bankrupted us. We were, we just never filed.

I remember we were married a year when he first shoved me out of frustration and it gradually got worse. I'd try hard to not anger him because it only took a couple years to make me doubt my intelligence and ability to manage life on my own - I'd never lived on my own before. I didn't want to be divorced. I knew things weren't right and had gotten up the courage to leave - I can remember sitting at the stop sign to our neighborhood one morning crying because we'd had a fight - he'd gotten so angry that I wouldn't have sex because I was going to be late for work yet again... and I thought "this isn't the way it is supposed to be; my feelings are supposed to matter, too" and I picked up an apartment finder magazine to see what I could afford... when I found out I lost my job due to a company takeover. So I got another job and then I found out I was pregnant. He was nice for the first several months of my pregnancy. He was very impatient with me after the birth, expecting BJ/hand jobs once or twice a day, not understanding my body was sore. I finally gave in to painful sex after four weeks just to shut him up. I usually pretended to like it to make him get off quicker.

I said I needed to work again for benefits - by this time she was 2 and I could see she annoyed him and his reactions and I knew we had to get out. He pulled a gun on me while I was holding her - I don't even remember what for anymore. Fortunately he got a call and had time to cool off. My new job was on a contract basis so I waited to get hired - another 2 years.


Do you now remember the warnings of a friend/parent?

He was very private and would be angry if I spent too much time on the phone with a girlfriend or if I told her something he thought was 'our business' - a pattern he repeated with our daughter and their 'secrets'.

Because we moved only a few months after meeting, I left my friends behind. His friends became mine; most single or partiers - I think he liked that type because he could be a big fish in a s mall pond. They made him feel smart, accomplished and important. I finally made some friends at work who met him. A couple thought he was a real azz but we mostly didn't talk about him. Another's husband actually said he was narcissistic. Finally my SIL asked if he abused me - she thought he was bi-polar. The end of the secrets was the end period. Now that someone knew he was abusive I could no longer hide it or ignore that this life was not OK. Just because he didn't break bones or beat me to a pulp didn't mean it was OK that he left knots on my head where the hair kid them or pressed his palm against my throat cutting off air.

I left with kiddo, went to a battered women's shelter and never went back. Since the diagnosis I can completely see all of the traits. I can spot it in a heartbeat in anyone else now. Look up NPD, read the checklist. He was everything. I was just very naive.


Thanks :)
 

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This was a very helpful exposition of the type.

I find it hard to understand anything without examples, and you provided loads, so now I can picture this person, and he resembles a few people I have known.

The people who I have known who exhibit these characteristics tend to be respected and popular men, praised for their drive and ambition in life, but as you point out, they are spending beyond their means, they hate any criticism or disagreement, and they want people to perform for them in some way.

Partly it sort of sounds a bit psychopathic - getting bursts of anger when something is not going their way, but then being able to plan how to turn people against each other over the long term - maybe this is why it appeared as 'bi-polar' to some, because of the fluctuating 'in total control - not in control' but then even anger can be simulated by such a person. But it would depend if he couldn't help the outbursts, or if they were part of the show for him.

In fact, one final question, if you would - thinking of the gun moment and how he switched off as quickly as he switched on to his anger -

Are all his emotions like a simulation of human behaviour, do you suspect that emotions are only another tool he can use to achieve a result? I knew a fanatical church-going woman who was like this - extremely vain, cried on command, laughed on command, did anger on a hairpin, yet very likeable. I could NOT understand how she ever became interested in Christianity. In fact, she used to quote bible to justify things like invading Iraq (randomly!) by saying things that didn't gel like 'ye shall not fear war or the rumours of war' (I mean, what?!) And her own daughter was very wary of her. She was massively vain, and criticised people's looks ALL the time, made fun of them, in fact, this was another thing that didn't gel with being 'christian'. She didn't like homeless, blacks, the poor, but then secretly lots of middle class women don't over here... she matches your ex totally. But I always thought of this woman as 'empty' inside, and you had to watch out for her.

This is not intended to be a silly comparison, but is his simulation of being normal and likeable similar to how a terminator behaves in those films? I know it sounds like a stupid comparison, but I have to pick a comparison we both know, and we don't know anyone in common, so a character it has to be.

Or perhaps there are significant differences.

Thanks!
 

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Well, I've never seen a terminator movie so I can't really compare to the character in that.

What I did learn about NPD people is they had very low self esteem and the constant posturing is needed to make themselves feel better. I also learned that the SOURCE of that low self esteem was an inability to bond with their mother/father (therefore them against the world mentality) OR being overly indulged as a child or [for men] having a culture that worships males and values them over women.

My ex was in foster care as a baby/young toddler for 8 months. I think during this time he did not develop a sense of love and security which most children have. Most kids know they are loved unconditionally even if they are scolded. I don't think he ever got the unconditional love during that very formative time.

I don't know if that helps you process it - but that does demonstrate how they can be empty inside - it's not empty so much as a constant state of fear and anxiety. Afraid someone will see who they really are; afraid they won't be accepted. Making sure they always seem superior so they are looked up to - viscious cycle. And the problem is, they have to RECOGNIZE this cycle to correct it, like in most personality disorders (or any personal improvement endeavor), yet it is unlikely they will ever peer from behind the curtain to see themselves as they really are.

As much as he frustrates me, it's quite sad. He will die never feeling loved and secure and there really is no way to change that.
 

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So sorry you went through all of that.

Many people don't realize the true and lasting effect and damage PAS can have on a parent-child relationship and just how subtle it can can start out as. We hear terms like "sperm-donor" and "Nut Job", etc, thrown around so often. We fail to realize that as we use those expressions casually, our friends will reply to us in conversations as casually. Then it's out there. The child(ren) has/have heard it. Before you know it the chain reaction begins.

Thanks for sharing.
 

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Fabulous breakthrough (I think). Life has been good - consistent, loving, normal. Kiddo dropped some extracurricular activities to focus on academics for a bit which means Ex can't visit at the extracurricular events any more. He asked if he could have some extra time beyond what the order allows. I added in an overnight (Friday) on my weekend (I know what his schedule allows) on a temporary basis.

I know once she starts driving and when he moves closer (bound to happen in the next year or two) I'll have less control over who she sees and when and I'm trying to keep his negativity and PAS influences at bay while being realistic about it and knowing that she is growing up. I don't want her to hate me for limiting their time with him so it's a careful tightrope walk.

But the breakthrough? She's struggling with Algebra and needs to work on some science so SHE told her Dad she wasn't going to spend Friday night with him because she needs to focus on her school work!! I think that takes a LOT of guts to tell the alienating parent, whom she used to be SO bound to, that even though she knows she CAN see him, she chooses NOT to! She told me that he might pick her up from school and they could go to dinner and that she'd come home so she could focus on school work.

:D :D :D :D I'm so proud of how far she's come. :) Those were some rough years!
 

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Being a bad husband doesn't eliminate his ability to be a father. He sounds difficult but that said, even if you divorced him, you still want to try for a good divorce. There could be some alienation on both sides. Split custody was not going to work but a scenario with liberal visitation on both sides would make sense. In a divorce you don't have the ability to dictate his parenting style.

Sometimes parents overestimate the ability to manipulate children. I have a family member who went through a bitter divorce and I saw his son at a wedding. I was surprised that the son understand more about the dynamics of the divorce and what each parent was about then both of them combined.
 

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It is true that being a bad husband doesn't make a bad father. Being diagnosed on the high end of the spectrum for narcissistic personality disorder does.

NPD means he is incapable of truly experiencing empathy, he is above having to follow rules, he is more important as a human than I am and in fact I offer nothing. It means he sees me as unnecessary in hte life of our daughter. It also means she serves a purpose for him. To make him look good. If she were disabled, ugly, fat or unintelligent, he would probably not want to visit much at all. She buys him admiration. If at any time she makes a choice that does not benefit him, he will retract his affection. It's obvious she is expected to act a certain way toward me when she is talking to me in his presence. She is cold, brief and unemotional when she talks on the phone while he his in the room. When she is with me alone in person she is bubbly and loving and warm. She knows when she is around her Dad that she has to shun me or he will shun her.

If you read up about the effects of NPD on their children, the ramifications are huge. Children of NPD have constant feelings of inadequacy because they could never win Dad's love or approval. Everything for an NPD is conditional.

This is much deeper than being him being "difficult". I UNDERestimated his ability to manipulate our child for YEARS, taking the high road and it almost cost me our daughter. I won her back and didn't have to do it by putting him down, I only had to remind her that all of these years and her happy memories were real and not imagined and that my love is not conditional.
 

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Bumped for another member.....
 

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Wow! All that I have read so far hits close to home, except I am just beginning the process of contacting a lawyer to see what to expect during divorce process. We just started counseling but I just feel like it wont get better and don't want to waste anymore time falling for all his tactics to just keep me so he can have his "perfect pretend family" He thinks he is super dad and the kids are his life but he does nothing in the actual caring for them baths, diapers, food, clothes, nothing! We are constantly fighting over the appropriate schedule for the kids, he would rather them stay up till midnight eating ice cream with him so he can be perceived as the cool dad!! In the beginning he was overly confident, Ex Military,world traveled, social,charming and man did I buy into it all. It was literally our honeymoon when he started to make putdowns or negative comments. Then slowly worse and worse to where I didn't even realize the abuse I was putting up with, 2 kids later I finally see it all so clear. You commented on one of my posts earlier and everything you said there was also what I am experiencing. Its frightening to think what will happen next....Once he see's I am going to follow thru with divorce process.
 

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I went through all of the "disney dad" stuff. Letting her stay up late, junk food, all sorts of ways to win her over so she would believe his lies and worship him.

It has come full circle. Early this year she cut him out and came clean about a LOT of stuff that has gone on over the years. I knew the rate of narcs sexually abusing their own children is higher - they see the children as an extension of themselves - no boundaries between. Well kiddo caught him looking over the shower at her several times and since he has a good friend who is into electronics, she was also afraid there were cameras in her room. The IBS was much worse as she dreaded every weekend visit and once she started driving she was putting off going to his place later and later instead of going right after school. Finally she mentioned something she wanted to do with friends on that particular Friday night and texted him asking if she could come on Saturday instead and apparently he went off on her, saying she didn't have to ever see him again, he was cutting her out of his will, etc. I went to check on her as it had been a long time and she had friends with her hanging out in the living room waiting for her to change clothes. she was upset and I asked what was the matter - she handed me her phone open to the text and just as I said I was so sorry he was being that way, it rang and it was him so I left her to talk. No doubt it was an effort to provoke her to beg for forgiveness and rush right over. But instead he finally triggered the opposite. I could hear her screaming at him from the other room. It went on for about 30 minutes as he continually tried to gaslight her into thinking things weren't so awful as they seemed, he didn't remember calling her names or shoving her or any of the other things she accused him of and why she had no intention of ever having anything to do with him - that was fine with her.

She hasn't been back since. She has trickled out some pretty awful and alarming things. Some stuff she said she either won't ever tell me or until she's 18. I told her I had no reason to take him to court and encouraged her to tell me anyway. I asked if she'd been sexually assaulted and she said no, just the creepy peeping tom stuff. She began showering at home before going and avoiding showering unless she knew he was out of the house running an errand and changing in a way where she was mostly covered. She tried to never tick him off - she gave an example of forgetting her brush but instead of telling him and getting a cheap brush for their weekend trip she went with the 'messy bun' all weekend just to avoid telling him. She knew he'd go off on her about not paying attention to anything, not caring enough to bring what she needed, not caring about money or whatever other slight he could attribute to a forgotten hair brush. She learned to not ask for food after the pass a restaurant because he wouldn't turn around and instead yell at her for not telling him before the turn came up. Made her ride 3 hours without food or a drink because she said she wanted a McGriddle on their way out of town just as they passed McDs and she got a lecture instead.

So many examples of how kiddo pretty much walked on eggshells. She has opened up about so much that went on while she was with him. I can only hope I can undo some of the damage he did and I'm glad I fought to limit his exposure to her. And I'm proud that she had the strength at 17 to cut him off. She has responded to a text or two. He has done his love-bombing (sent money and an Easter card), played the confused and ignorant game (he didn't remember things being so bad) and gone dark. Nothing has gotten her to do more than respond a few words on a few occasions (i.e. "thank you" to "have a good day"). It will be difficult still for many years to come and no doubt has made a lasting impact on who she is just like it did to me. But I hope in the end what it left her with is strength to overcome an awful and negative situation and become something wonderful and positive. Because, as I told her, "the best revenge is living well" in spite of it all.
 
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