Today, I’m answering a question from a reader who has lost his children to a narcissistic ex-wife who fled the country with them nearly 18 years ago. So let’s get started.
My narcissist wife left with her affair partner (a friend known to me ) in
1998. Filed for divorce immediately and granted the same at end of 1999. Well
But the problem is , she took with her our 3 sons who were aged 6.5 years, 3 years and 6 months old at that time. I have not seen them since because they fled to a different country.
Should I seek to reestablish contact with my sons? Thanks a lot.
So, here’s my answer – yes. You should seek to reestablish contact and you should do so immediately. You should explain yourself and the way it happened on your end, and then you should let your kids make their own choices about how to continue the relationship.
Remain steadfast in the fact that you always loved and wanted them and that you have the desire to reconnect. Do your best to avoid trash-talking the ex, as much as she might deserve it, and be prepared for rejection.
While narcissistic women tend to be incredibly overbearing and controlling with their children (or, in some cases, entirely neglectful), your now-adult children might be thoroughly enmeshed with your ex by now.
They’ve probably been told a lot of lies about you, and depending on the level of enmeshment with their narcissist mother, may or may not believe them. You’ve got to tell your truth, but do so as respectfully if you can.
On the other hand, there’s a strong possibility that she may have created a “scapegoat” child among them, and if that’s the case, you might get a better response than you’d expect. The oldest is most likely to remember you, of course, but the younger ones might be equally interested in knowing you.
In any case, though, you’ve got to do your best to let those kids know that you love them, you always wanted them and that they were taken from you against your will – and, that you want to be in their lives now. These kids most likely grew up believing that it was you who rejected them, thanks to their mother’s perception and your absence. Even though it wasn’t your choice, the absence of their father was real for those kids – and you’ve got to respect that, even if you don’t like the idea.
What if they reject you?
If they reject you, just tell them you understand they’ve been affected by your absence but that you’re always going to be there for them. And then just passively remind them of that by sending regular birthday cards, holiday cards and occasionally just dropping them a note to let them know they’re on your mind.
Okay, now I want to open this up to you – what advice would you offer my reader? Would you tell him to reestablish contact gently, like I did, or do you have another idea? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one! Please leave them in the comments below – and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, if you haven’t already!
Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy.
She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.