Can other people see the manipulation?

  • 4 Replies
  • 797 Views
*

anxiousmom

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 69
Can other people see the manipulation?
« on: February 14, 2019, 09:49:32 PM »
We had a meeting with our parenting facilitator (PF) yesterday. Our child has been at a new charter school for a month now (I told exBPD about the change as soon as I got the acceptance notification, answered questions, etc.) and literally 2 hours before our appointment, exBPD had the nerve to ask to me to remind him what the NAME OF THE SCHOOL IS THAT HIS CHILD HAS BEEN GOING TO FOR A MONTH NOW.

Then we went to the appointment (our first one since his no-show last month) and when our PF asked what was new with our kid, he was immediately like "oh, he started a new charter school," talking it up as if he knew ANYTHING about it, or even cared. Later on, I was able to bring up that he asked the name of it hours before the meeting, but I don't know if it resonated.

He puts on a relatively good show in front of the powers that be, but it's sooooo surface, I wonder if they can see through it. For instance, when asked what he would do if he was granted what he wants, it's always just like "I wanna do more fun stuff."

When asked why he is confident he is ready for more responsibility with his son, he responds with things like, "I vote (no kidding, he said this), I have a 401K, I hit quota 2 years in a row, I pay my mortgage, I go to my AA meetings, I've told my story at the meetings, I check in with my sponsor every week," all of these things, none of which have ANYTHING to do with parenting or our son.

I want to believe that the PF picks up on this. I do, but I also know I'm hypersensitive to his BPD and NPD tendencies.

Yesterday was the most contentious of our PF visits. I'm just so tired of the manipulations and blatant lies coming from him.

Last night I also mentioned that it was not in our child's best interest to involve him in any sort of disagreement or adult, co-parenting decision we had. He made a comment "oh is that what the child psychologist told you?" (I visited one before I allowed our child to his house for visits) I responded, "no...that's just what reason and logic tell me. I know that to be true, I don't need a child psychologist to tell me it's not in our child's best interest to involve him in adult matters..."

To me, all these things are SO indicative that he lacks the maturity level needed to care for a child....but then I worry that no one has as much experience with the nuances of exBPD-NPD and I worry they won't see it.

Thoughts? Experiences?

*

acc1984

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 122
Re: Can other people see the manipulation?
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2019, 11:08:55 AM »
This is a huge fear of mine, too. I know other people can see it but when everything is going on it doesn't always feel that way. From what I've read, that's the purpose of the disorder, though. They project onto and confuse everyone around them so you end up thinking YOU are the problem. I often stop and think "I've got to be overreacting, surely this is just my own insecurity and it's not actually that bad." but then I remember when the kids' BM bought them cell phone without DH's permission and had them sneak them into our home to record and spy on us to try to get full custody. I try not to dwell on those things but going back and touching base on different events helps to refocus everything a little bit. For me, anyway.

*

Penny Lane

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1986
Re: Can other people see the manipulation?
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2019, 12:11:15 PM »
anxiousmom, I've been really stressed about this lately too, both in the context of court and in the context of interpersonal stuff. (Just call me anxious stepmom!)

The reason I've been worried about this is because word got around (it's a small community) that BM's lawyer was telling people that she thought I was going to cause a problem. I mean, on one hand, who cares what her lawyer thinks? But on the other hand this lawyer has watched her lie, over and over, watched her manipulate and behave in ways that are bad for the kids and just generally mess stuff up. And she's watched DH clean up BM's messes, be reasonable, try to de-escalate, stay out of court as long as humanly possible, etc. I get that she has to represent her client but I cannot imagine how, privately, she thinks I am the problem in the situation! (On the other hand, I probably am a problem for BM - I encourage DH to be mentally healthy in general and to be assertive when it comes to dealing with her. Since we met he's been caving to her a lot less, while I can't take credit for that I certainly encourage it.) And then I get all up in my head about what BM is telling other parents at school, our mutual professional acquaintances, anyone else she comes across.

So long story short, the answer is some people will see through the manipulations right away, especially if they have their own experiences with PDs. Some never will. And some will come to the conclusion on their own, either because you've guided them to it or because the person inadvertently reveals their true nature.

I highly recommend the book Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In it he talks about stuff like taking the assertive approach, when to correct the person's lies, potential avenues to get what you need from the court.

In the PF situation specifically, I think the best thing you can do is remain calm, factually correct inaccuracies and present a really clear contrast. Like, he thinks he should get more custody because he votes (wtf), you think the situation should remain the same because DS is thriving, because of your concerns about your ex's volatile behavior and because of the current stability the situation brings. The PF doesn't have to say "aha, he is trying to manipulate me!" to see who has a better argument.

I also suggest you communicate with him mostly in writing, so when he says stuff like the thing about the child psychologist, you have a record of it. Maybe no one will ever care, but maybe it'll be helpful as the case progresses. I certainly don't think that makes him look good!

Also remember that people might privately see what he's doing, but you won't always know it. The crappy thing is you're probably not going to get real validation from anyone in the court process (judge, parenting facilitator, anyone else) that you're right. You ARE right, come here and people can tell you that, but the court isn't going to give you the satisfaction of a ruling that says "he is a manipulator." I say this because it can be really frustrating to watch him lie and the "justice" system doesn't really do anything. But if you let the frustration get the better of you then you won't be doing the best you can for your son. You just have to swallow it, power through the court stuff and remind yourself that this is why he's your ex!

*

cant turn back

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 422
Re: Can other people see the manipulation?
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2019, 02:12:23 PM »
This is still one of the hardest parts for me.  I’ve been moved out of our family home for 14 months.  Officially divorced for 2 months.  My ExH is all about his good guy mask and, over the course of the past 2 years, he has become the good-time dad to our 15yo daughter, whom we share custody of 50-50.  It’s completely nauseating to me.  If they all knew the way he interacts with me, the hatred, vitriol, blaming, manipulation of our daughter, well he would be outed, no longer able to keep up his “poor me” facade.  All while I try to always rise above, not take the bait, always being the bigger person.  I have a dysfunctional desire for him to just be outed.  And, our daughter grew up watching me accept poor treatment.   Tap dancing to make ExH happy, and she too has some co-dependent tendencies.  So she makes excuses for her dad and she’s walking a tight rope between us.  Will she ever know and internalize the truth?  Or will she always make excuses and protect him?  Right now she’s an opportunistic 15 yo who is taking what she can get and it is her dad who gives freely, ever desperate to remain on good terms with her, rather than actually parent her.
It is very hard for me to let go of what everyone thinks and just continue doing the right thing.  I will continue to do it, but I will always secretly be wishing that ExH will drop his mask and expose himself in front of others.

*

anxiousmom

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 69
Re: Can other people see the manipulation?
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2019, 09:25:43 PM »
This is still one of the hardest parts for me.  I’ve been moved out of our family home for 14 months.  Officially divorced for 2 months.  My ExH is all about his good guy mask and, over the course of the past 2 years, he has become the good-time dad to our 15yo daughter, whom we share custody of 50-50.  It’s completely nauseating to me.  If they all knew the way he interacts with me, the hatred, vitriol, blaming, manipulation of our daughter, well he would be outed, no longer able to keep up his “poor me” facade.  All while I try to always rise above, not take the bait, always being the bigger person.  I have a dysfunctional desire for him to just be outed.  And, our daughter grew up watching me accept poor treatment.   Tap dancing to make ExH happy, and she too has some co-dependent tendencies.  So she makes excuses for her dad and she’s walking a tight rope between us.  Will she ever know and internalize the truth?  Or will she always make excuses and protect him?  Right now she’s an opportunistic 15 yo who is taking what she can get and it is her dad who gives freely, ever desperate to remain on good terms with her, rather than actually parent her.
It is very hard for me to let go of what everyone thinks and just continue doing the right thing.  I will continue to do it, but I will always secretly be wishing that ExH will drop his mask and expose himself in front of others.

I just want to tell you - I completely understand what you mean, and feel the same way. My BPDexH thinks that good parenting is "taking him to fun places," so he keeps trying to arrange for different play places for their one weekend day. Well, today, because of his failure to plan, his idea fell through and he couldn't think of an alternative, so he showed up at my house for a regular visit. DS, 6, asked him if they could go to a play place, and of course, he tells our 6 year old "it's up to your mom," right in front of me, because he can't just say "no."

Well, I'm tired of being the bad guy so I said sure, then it happened again when we were about to leave. exH was going to drive himself (uh probably because it's reasonable to assume when you sue someone they don't want you riding with them in their car) but our son whined for him to come in my car, and like clockwork, he turns to me and says, "is it okay if i ride with y'all?"

He is so set on being the buddy that he just cannot give the hard (but reasonable) answers, and just actively puts it on me to be the designated authoritarian, then dares tell our PF that I'm "thwarting" his parenting. So I stand there and wait for him to give the reasonable answer, since he accuses me of undermining him, and he puts me in the position of making the adult decisions.

It's honestly maddening. I want to stoop to his level all the time, but I care about my son too much, and it's a good thing, because one of us HAS to be that person, and he clearly is not.

Hugs!!! We're all in this together...