Handling the behaviors in public places. With an audience.

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redfish

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I had to meet DD's dad at what will likely be her preschool this morning for the school interview. DD was very shy and timid going into a new place and wouldn't let me stop holding her, and then ten minutes later when I was able to put her down, she wouldn't let go of my side or my hand. During all this her dad kept trying to get her to stand on her own- saying in front of staff that she needs to stand up on her own so she'll take a nap later, and then kept trying to distract her, engage her, and she'd respond by staying even closer to me or insisting on pulling me towards whatever her dad tried to distract her with while maintaining a death-grip on my hand. I could literally feel the rage building in my ex and tried to encourage DD but she had to 'leave' when she was ready.
During all this, the staff is talking to us and taking us around the building. During the conversations about DD, whatever I said- Ex had to say he had bigger, he has more, his is better, he's more involved, he does more, he has so much in common with DD, he knows what she likes (says something opposite what I said)
I ignored him for the most part but then found myself catering to his ego, 'yes he's great with that with her! Yes he lives near the water too!', etc. It felt like I was in a competition I didn't sign up for and I even started to feel embarrassed and slightly confused.
Where do I draw the line? How do you guys handle this stuff?! I don't want to purposely push his buttons but I don't want to feed the behavior (psychosis?) either.
The staff talked to me more than him so I'm sure there'll be payback for that. He made sure they saw him help her play with a LittleTykes car and it felt so superficial. I realize that probably no one there saw what I did, or him pushing her to play with him when she wasn't interested. This feels like a disaster waiting to happen.
He even offered to do landscaping for them lol.

Is it ok to feed the beast sometimes? In the name of peace??
If Cinderella went back to pick up her shoe she never would've become a princess

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elly87

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Re: Handling the behaviors in public places. With an audience.
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2018, 06:33:31 PM »
Is it ok to feed the beast sometimes? In the name of peace??

In my opinion, yes. I too had to do school interviews with my NPD ex and it was not a good time. though my ex's behavior is slightly different than yours, he too is competitive and attention seeking and its very embarrassing for me. I found that when I talked him up in a general sense, he didn't do as much crazy stuff as he would otherwise because he felt less threatened. It is so hard with this population because you have to sort of dance around them when you are forced to interact with them.

I feel for you, I hope everything goes well for your daughter.

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lifeline

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Re: Handling the behaviors in public places. With an audience.
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2018, 06:52:26 PM »
I realize that probably no one there saw what I did, or him pushing her to play with him when she wasn't interested. This feels like a disaster waiting to happen.
He even offered to do landscaping for them lol.

Is it ok to feed the beast sometimes? In the name of peace??

You would be surprised how much staff of a child care facility or educational facility will pick up on with that stuff.   I think you did a great job.  You showed knowledge about your daughter, you showed healthy involvement and bond.  You showed no need to be showy or exaggerate yourself or your relationship with your daughter to them.

Understand that places like this deal with a LOT of parents, and often a lot of separated parents.  Often there is one parent who participates more than the other, or one parent who handles all the business while the other only seems to appear in the fun public events.  Believe me, they know.  Which means they'll call you first if there's a question, they'll engage you more when you're both present, they'll hand you paperwork that has a deadline knowing the display they are seeing deems you the responsible one who can mange and be on time... Know what I mean??

So the best thing is: let him make a fool of himself, you did very well by NOT competing with him.  You don't necessarily have to talk him up or even agree with him, a smile and nod is absolutely fine.  You will establish rapport with the facility, and in the long term, it's easy to see who's the "sound" parent.  Remember, they can only play FOTY for so long, because it's fake.  That mask will get old and eventually fall off.  While you're there, just remember your reason for being there, and focus all your attention on that.

I know, I deal with this at my DD5's elementary school, events where we are both present are torturous, and he behaves so ridiculously.  But you have to just smile and be there for your kid.  Last event we had, he promised the kids he'd go and he never showed.  They were not real happy about that.  He makes it up with material things and candy...  :roll:
"Only I can change my life.  No one can do it for me."
-Carol Burnette

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Associate of Daniel

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Re: Handling the behaviors in public places. With an audience.
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2018, 08:22:09 PM »
May I gently advise that, as far as possible, you inform the preschool and any future school or medico, that it is a high conflict situation and that in order to minimise the drama it would be helpful if they could communicate seperately with you and your ex.

That means 2 of everything for the school but since most communication is done by email that's not difficult for them. 

It means, in future, seperate parent teacher interviews etc..

It also means that he is accountable for keeping up to date with things and that you don't have to forward everything to him.

I'd also provide them a copy of any relevant court orders etc..

There will be times that you have to be with him. I've learned that silence as a response to pd grandstanding speaks volumes and makes them look the crazy that they are.

It takes practice though.

Hope this helps.

And well done on how you handled that situation.

AOD

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redfish

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Re: Handling the behaviors in public places. With an audience.
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2018, 09:00:02 PM »
Is it ok to feed the beast sometimes? In the name of peace??

In my opinion, yes. I too had to do school interviews with my NPD ex and it was not a good time. though my ex's behavior is slightly different than yours, he too is competitive and attention seeking and its very embarrassing for me. I found that when I talked him up in a general sense, he didn't do as much crazy stuff as he would otherwise because he felt less threatened. It is so hard with this population because you have to sort of dance around them when you are forced to interact with them.

I feel for you, I hope everything goes well for your daughter.
Yeah if you've read other posts of mine, my Ex's behavior is absolutely all over the place. I don't even know for sure what disorder he has. Not that I'm qualified to diagnose any ways!
One of the biggest things with mine is that he can't under any circumstances 'look bad'. Saying or casually mentioning the slightest thing, it could be as small as a dead branch on his property for example, will be met with a life-long vendetta if he's bored or needs drama. But it will be covered by a totally reasonable excuse that he can brush off as a 'misunderstanding' if confronted over it.

I think I danced around as good as I could today. This is just the beginning though.
I was worried about enabling behavior on my part but hopefully I can find that fine line and not cross it :-)
If Cinderella went back to pick up her shoe she never would've become a princess

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redfish

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Re: Handling the behaviors in public places. With an audience.
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2018, 09:11:47 PM »
Lifeline, thank you! Today was hard with the antics but I know there will be unending sequels so if I can handle the future like today, I should be ok. I did find myself almost being defensive when he kept one-upping me but I was able to catch myself and tell myself that I didn't need to.
I don't think my Ex will ever not show for a school event, not as long as his parents are alive and he's getting praise and attention from everyone in his circle. I do believe he'll have times he'll resent the intrusion on his time but I'm sure the siren call of foty will be too strong.
Honestly, during the interview, I kept saying in my head 'grace and class, Grace and class' and 'You matter, you count, you're important' . Sounds so dumb but I have familial PD relationships and the one with my Ex to still recover from. It's a daily battle!
If Cinderella went back to pick up her shoe she never would've become a princess

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redfish

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Re: Handling the behaviors in public places. With an audience.
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2018, 09:19:52 PM »
AOD, at some point during our walk-thru and interview the woman we were speaking to offered to do that withhout being asked. I let her know that I would appreciate that very much.
I do like the suggestion of seperate parent/teacher interviews and when the time comes I'm going to ask for that. It will exacerbate my Ex's paranoia, but that's not my problem.
I plan on being as involved as possible and have an easier work situation than I did when my other two children were little so I'm really looking forward to it.
If Cinderella went back to pick up her shoe she never would've become a princess

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elly87

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Re: Handling the behaviors in public places. With an audience.
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2018, 11:56:55 AM »
Is it ok to feed the beast sometimes? In the name of peace??

In my opinion, yes. I too had to do school interviews with my NPD ex and it was not a good time. though my ex's behavior is slightly different than yours, he too is competitive and attention seeking and its very embarrassing for me. I found that when I talked him up in a general sense, he didn't do as much crazy stuff as he would otherwise because he felt less threatened. It is so hard with this population because you have to sort of dance around them when you are forced to interact with them.

I feel for you, I hope everything goes well for your daughter.
Yeah if you've read other posts of mine, my Ex's behavior is absolutely all over the place. I don't even know for sure what disorder he has. Not that I'm qualified to diagnose any ways!
One of the biggest things with mine is that he can't under any circumstances 'look bad'. Saying or casually mentioning the slightest thing, it could be as small as a dead branch on his property for example, will be met with a life-long vendetta if he's bored or needs drama. But it will be covered by a totally reasonable excuse that he can brush off as a 'misunderstanding' if confronted over it.

I think I danced around as good as I could today. This is just the beginning though.
I was worried about enabling behavior on my part but hopefully I can find that fine line and not cross it :-)

it always helps me to ask myself, in doubtful moments, is this action that I want to take right now what is best for the children?. it helps guide my behavior through times when I really want to ring my ex's neck, or call the school quickly and explain that he is being a moron etc... Sometimes the emotion is overwhelming but that keeps me grounded. Also maintaining perspective is so important. For example, he may be saying or doing stupid/embarrassing things on this interview but remember: this is a long haul. you will be raising this child together for a long time..is it worth making a comment about that can ignite a blow up? is it worth making yourself seethe over it? sometimes, it will be worth it( like when my ex wanted me to agree that my daughter will always wear skirts to her ankles....um, just hell no! or when he wanted to send my kids to religious schools with 1 hour a day of secular studies!) and then you fight for what you know your kids need. other times, you must recognize that you don't have control over it and you will have to let it go (like when my ex doesn't brush the kids teeth when they are at his house). it is hard but on the positive side, what a patient, poised, calm person you become having to practice all of these skills!

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redfish

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Re: Handling the behaviors in public places. With an audience.
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2018, 11:40:42 PM »
Thank you Elly87, I do look forward to being more patient, calm and poised! I'm doing ok so far I guess.

I think the hardest part in all this is the Fear. Just knowing that he sits around plotting and will do whatever it takes to destroy me, using our daughter. That he'll keep pushing and pushing, making things as hard as possible and knowing no one believes me because he projects, manipulates, lies constantly, knows how to use the system against me, uses my past mistakes against me. I feel trapped in a never-ending nightmare. And I constantly scared of his next move and feel I have no good offence, or even defense.
If Cinderella went back to pick up her shoe she never would've become a princess

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Medowynd

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Re: Handling the behaviors in public places. With an audience.
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2018, 05:57:14 AM »
I've been around plenty of school staff members over the many years and I had a grandstanding exH.  He was happy to make an ass of himself at every opportunity.  I would receive commiserating looks or see the slight shake of the head as exH did his performance.  He wasn't an angry show off, he was just an ass.  Could he be louder, make more silly comments, make uncouth statements, he did them all.  I know that school staff have to remain neutral, but if you take a close look and watch for nuances, you will see that they get the message.

They will not say anything to you, but I guarantee his behavior was discussed after the visit ended.  You will also find quiet sympathy and staff members willing to make life a littler easier for you.  Because it sure sounds like your ex is missing any charm quotient that some personalities  have.

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HotCocoa

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Re: Handling the behaviors in public places. With an audience.
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2018, 09:36:59 AM »
Redfish, I'm so sorry you had to deal with his grandstanding crapola.  I know your daughter is young and there may be times you cross paths with the ex, however, he is so abusive that anything, ANYTHING, you can do separately, I would do.

I've noticed in my own life that even though husband and I are no longer together, people still equate us as 1 unit because of our child.  We are not one unit or a family and he triggers me something awful.  I suspect that's what happened there.  You were catering to his ego because that's probably what it was like when you were with him, or suffer the rage.

It's not healthy for you to be around him, ever.  He is an abuser.  Do everything you can without his presence.  If the people at the school squawk about it, well, who cares.  If he makes an ass out of himself, let that be on him to deal with .  You just be your great mommy self and keep trucking without him, even when its about your daughter.  No good comes out of hearing them in your ear telling you how you're doing it wrong, or it should be this way.  Be around your abuser as LEAST as possible.  You have come so far, don't let him sway into saying things you don't mean just to acquiesce. 
Protect yourself and your daughter, she is your family and you are hers.   
 :bighug:
The smarter you become about narcissistic abuse, the crazier the narcissist will say you are.