Talking to adult child

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11JB68

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Talking to adult child
« on: May 11, 2018, 01:38:07 PM »
Wasn't sure where this fit best. Feel free to move it if this isn't the best place for it. I'm trying to decide if/how/when to discuss my thoughts about uOCPDh with Ds20. Ds is 20. Home for summer after 2nd year of college. Very mature. We have talked a bit in the past about dad's behavior. I've always tried very hard not to alienate, and to always say that dad loves both of us, that sometimes his ways are hard to deal with etc. That was before I came ootf. Over the past 9 months I've really thought a lot and learned a lot. U meet with a divorce lawyer in March, don't feel ready yet to make that move but may soon. I still don't want to alienate Ds from his dad. I do have empathy for uOCPDh and I do love him and believe that he loves us. But I don't know how much longer I can live with him. I don't want Ds to be blindsided by this if it happens. I also would like to hear his thoughts,feelings,opinions as he is the only person who knows uOCPDh as well as I do. I also feel I owe Ds an apology for not doing a much as I should have to protect him from the negative effects of his dad's behavior. However...I also am concerned about making Ds a secret keeper or triangulating him.... Thoughts? Opinions? Ideas? He's not a "child" ....but he is "our child"....

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openskyblue

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Re: Talking to adult child
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2018, 02:14:51 PM »
I can very much identify with your struggle. I have a son about the age of yours and had to leave the family home without telling him beforehand. Not being able to tell him was a constant source of worry for me for the many months before I left.

For me, I decided that it wasn't fair to burden my son with this information (that I was leaving), because it would put him directly in the middle. Also, I'd be asking him to keep a secret from his father. As it turned out, DS was completely supportive of my decision--and had actually expected (hoped) I would do this for a long time. It took him about 2 weeks to realize that I had to be NC with his father, as his dad took out much of his frustration and rage on DS. Even today, my son checks in to make sure I'm not in areas of the city where his dad lives/works, because he is afraid for my safety.

What I learned was that as much as I tried to protect DS throughout his childhood--and be a buffer between him and my ASPD husband--my son had been affected. I was the target of my ex's abuse, but that abuse troubled and scared my son from an early age. I wish I could have left my ex when my son was younger, but honestly I knew that my ex would not hesitate to use my son to take his revenge on me.

I know there is a strong norm in our society to avoid parental alienation at all costs, however IMHO we have a duty as parents to help our children cope with a parent with a PD. Just a cursory look at the Children of PDs page shows how devastating having a parent with a PD can be. Still, it's a tricky thing to discuss with even adult kids without adding to the guilty they already feel. In my experience,encouraging my son find a therapist who understood the PD-child dynamic was tremendously helpful. My door is always open to DS asking me questions about our family past, why his dad does what he does, and my ex's family of narcs. I try to be as calm, measured, and diplomatic in those conversations as I can be and throughout them check in to see if we should stop talking or keep going.

In the end, I didn't want my son to feel barraged by his father's behavior without tools to cope with it. In the same way I'd give him advice on a job interview or breaking up with a girlfriend kindly or deal with a difficult boss, I think it's the right thing to also provide this help--so long as my son is asking me for the help. If anything, my son and I are closer than ever now. 

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11JB68

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Re: Talking to adult child
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2018, 03:05:05 PM »
Open sky blue...so you left, and son stayed with dad? Or is/was your son already living on his own? I'm not envisioning that with my situation...hoping either Ds and I will stay and uOCPDh would leave...or that I would leave and Ds would come with me,at least part time or most of the time (except when he's away at school...)

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openskyblue

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Re: Talking to adult child
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2018, 06:45:38 PM »
My son is in college and spends his summers working in that city. He comes to visit me frequently and I go to visit him in his new home town. After DS got to college and realized that a living space didn't have to involve a PD making demands and melting down, he was happy to start making his new life in his college town. Overall, for both of us this new family life has  been a "play it by ear" experience, but now it seems normal and (blessedly) so much more peaceful.

Holidays were a challenge at first. I realized pretty quickly that they would become a battleground with my ex, so I've always assured DS that he can spend any holiday wherever he wishes. This, of course, was not my ex's approach, and he was combative and unpleasant about DS spending holiday time with anyone other than him. Eventually, DS went NC with my ex. DS and I sometimes spend holidays together, sometimes go to our separate friends, whatever feels right. Everything has gotten so much easier. What I learned was that our house, , the old neighborhood weren't what made our family, my son and I were that.

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11JB68

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Re: Talking to adult child
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2018, 08:10:07 PM »
👍💝

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Ofmonz

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Re: Talking to adult child
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2018, 07:06:32 PM »
Hello.. This is exactly the issue that keeps me up at night.
I have 3 kids 24, 20, & 18. NPD dad left 7 years ago after 25yrs of marriage, we aredivorced and he re-married within a few months . At first I agreed to play the game of "we both decided together" with the kids, not wanting to tarnish his image for  them. Then the more overt abuse started with the eldest. After watching her suffer, I "accidentally" left my kindle open to a book about NPD where I knew she'd see it.
I saw her face transform! She had the moment of clarity that I had had when I first learned what it was I'd been dealing with.
Sure she was shocked and hurt, but it helped her enormously in learining how to deal with him herself. Would advise you to do the same, point your son in the right direction and let him make the connections - the discovery. He needs to deal with his own father and the sooner he learns the better for his wellbeing.

Having said that, I haven't had the courage to do the same with the other 2 yet...  I dread it even though I'm convinced that it'll help them. In the meantime their father shows less and less interest in them, barely sees them, and spends his time complaining about how much they are costing him, even though he's very, very well off.
Does anyone have more experience dealing with talking to childen about their NPD abusive parent? Help, I'm drained., always worried and scared that they are being hurt. Help

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Latchkey

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Re: Talking to adult child
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2018, 07:38:00 PM »
Hello.. This is exactly the issue that keeps me up at night.
I have 3 kids 24, 20, & 18. NPD dad left 7 years ago after 25yrs of marriage, we aredivorced and he re-married within a few months . At first I agreed to play the game of "we both decided together" with the kids, not wanting to tarnish his image for  them. Then the more overt abuse started with the eldest. After watching her suffer, I "accidentally" left my kindle open to a book about NPD where I knew she'd see it.
I saw her face transform! She had the moment of clarity that I had had when I first learned what it was I'd been dealing with.
Sure she was shocked and hurt, but it helped her enormously in learining how to deal with him herself. Would advise you to do the same, point your son in the right direction and let him make the connections - the discovery. He needs to deal with his own father and the sooner he learns the better for his wellbeing.

Having said that, I haven't had the courage to do the same with the other 2 yet...  I dread it even though I'm convinced that it'll help them. In the meantime their father shows less and less interest in them, barely sees them, and spends his time complaining about how much they are costing him, even though he's very, very well off.
Does anyone have more experience dealing with talking to childen about their NPD abusive parent? Help, I'm drained., always worried and scared that they are being hurt. Help

Hi Ofmonz and Welcome to OOTF!

I like how you were able to communicate what was going on with your older D by leaving a book laying around.  :ninja: Did you then have follow up conversations with her? I think each child has their own way of communicating with the parent and that there is no one size fits all approach to this unfortunately.

I'd encourage you to start your own post here or in the Welcome Mat and introduce yourself.

I'm a mom of 3 kids from 2 marriages to PDs. I have been divorced now 4 years from second NPD/ASPD H. My kids are 21,18 and 7.

You'll find many here going through similar things to you. Here is an article we created for this topic.

Talking to Kids about PD's

Looking forward to seeing you around the boards!

Latchkey
Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.
-Mother Jones
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There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
-Maya Angelou
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When we have the courage to do what we need to do, we unleash mighty forces that come to our aid.