WARNING! Today's episode of Go Ask Angie is OUTRAGEOUS - not only am I providing answers to two mothers who were left by narcissists during pregnancy, but between these narcissistic fathers, there are literally 12 children who have to deal with it - plus, one of the mothers was replaced by...wait for it...her own TWIN SISTER during her pregnancy!
I am just overwhelmed with the amount of things I want to say to those self-centered jerks (not to mention the so-called sister who was willing to be with a man who'd just abandoned her pregnant TWIN) - but I won't waste my breath, because you and I both know that there's no good reason to try to make a narcissist accountable for his or her behavior. It almost NEVER works.
Take a look at this video - or if you can't, check out the transcript, below the video, and when you're finished, please let me know what you think - and what advice you'd offer these moms.
Before I start with my answer, I just want to say that I'm so sorry for what you're going through, and you definitely don't deserve it!
I know that you have been totally shocked by this horrible situation - and who can blame you? Between your own pregnancy and other children and the devalue and discard you've just gone through, it's amazing that you're still standing.
But stand you will, because you're a mother and that is what we do!
So much of what you wrote sounds familiar to me on more than one level. For example, my first husband actually treated my oldest son like a piece of property.
He'd ignore the baby while no one was looking, but when people were around, he was the perfect father - showing him off and always telling people how amazing he was. It was like "look what I did!"
Once I finally got a clue and left his ass, I quickly realized that his only reason for wanting to see my son was that he wanted to get back in my life. When I realized that, I was just done.
He hasn't seen that kid since he was 16 months old - and he will be 19 YEARS old next month.
My suggestion: try to focus on the good stuff here. You're having a new baby! Babies are adorable and full of potential.
Focus on taking care of yourself and your other kids now, and don't worry so much about what he's doing - spend your spare time decorating the nursery and generally NOT thinking about him.
Okay, I've got a few more pieces of advice for you before I close today.
- First: don't allow this narcissist to taint your happiness. He has made his choices, and now you get to make yours.
- Second, don't expect some big miracle to happen when or if you ever allow him to see your child - especially since you said he has other kids out there.
- Third, remember that as a toxic narcissist, he's got a personality disorder and without serious therapy, he ain't gonna change anytime soon (and whether it will work is QUITE iffy).
Now it's time for you to consider every option that's available to you - and take nothing for granted. Remember too that your ex narcissist is unlikely to see your child as a person, but more likely to see him or her as a tool to be used to get what he wants.
Be on the lookout for certain behaviors if your ex does get involved in the baby's life - for example, he may choose to disregard your or the baby's boundaries. He may withhold affection in order to get results from the baby as he or she gets older. And he will most likely neglect to meet his parental duties on certain levels, where his needs come before the baby's, always.
Plus, since image is so important to narcissists, he may demand absolute perfection from your child anytime he's involved.
Your kiddo will feel a lot of pressure to "be good enough," and unfortunately, no matter how amazing he or she turns out to be, it won't ever be enough.
A bit of psychology you might want to consider, too:
- If your child is a girl, she will need to feel adored by her father. While she's little, he'll probably do okay with that on a couple of levels, but as she gets older, he'll get mean - commenting on her clothing, her weight and/or her attitude in negative ways. She needs to be validated this way - and it helps her to be stronger in future relationships. Girls need to internalize their specialness and HEALTHY dads (or even dad-like-people) can help with that.
- If your baby is a boy, you need to know that he will never be able to "measure up" to your ex's expectations. The narcissistic father is infamous for competing with his sons in very unhealthy ways. And if that's not his game, your son will simply be ignored. Just as girls need to be adored by their fathers in order to be validated, boys need to have their dads believe in them.
I remember my ex getting jealous of my son when he was born - because I paid too much attention to him! Outrageous!
As the mom of this baby, you're going to have a lot of responsibility, but it doesn't have to be terrible - knowing what you're up against is the first step to making your life easier.
KNOW that this is NOT your fault - and know what to watch for when you're considering dating in the future. This can help you to avoid getting into this situation again.
I'd like you to consider getting involved with a parent support group, such as Parents Without Partners, and I'd like to invite you to join SPAN, my online support group - it's totally free and completely confidential. You can learn more at QueenBeeing.com/SPAN.
I wish I had better answers for you, but I hope this offers you a place to start. Please remember to take care of yourself as you go on this journey - and don't be afraid to reach out to the people in your life you can trust when you need support.
Okay, now it's your turn! What advice would you offer our mothers? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below. Let's discuss it.