Divorcing a Narcissist: Manipulation Unveiled

After my ‘Narcissist Light Bulb Moment’ (aka “the awakening”) over a year ago, I see through his attempts to manipulate and control.  I see through attacks and I see the extreme insanity in his emails and text messages.  At one point, I would fall victim to them.  I no longer do that.  His manipulation has been unveiled by my knowledge of his personality disorder.

Over the summer, we’ve had some Narcissist Drama surrounding birthday parties that my daughters wanted to attend.  I felt like beating my head into a wall after repeatedly emailing him in an attempt to co-parent (insert huge amounts of sarcasm here).  To make matters worse, I know he thrives when he thinks I am begging him to respond to my emails.

I took the advice from one of my readers, Heather:

Give him a time limit in which to respond, i.e., “If I do not hear from you by Wed the 11th, I will take that to mean you have no problem with the changes proposed.”  Give him ample time to respond; just don’t let his non-response control your life.

I did exactly as Heather suggested and this is the response that I received back from the X:

Tina- We will switch to 2:30 pm – 8:30 pm so that you can go to the birthday party with (daughter). That being my compromised position. There have been a minimum of 6 birthday parties on Saturday I have brought the girls to over the past 3 years. I am only to assume that your libel and slander about me and my family to the other mothers that will be at the party would make it an uncomfortable situation for every parent there that you have gossiped negatively to about me. Personally I would have no problem meeting everyone and showing the other parents that I am just a good dad and a pleasant person.

My Mom and I would like to bring the Girls to San Diego Zoo and Legoland.  We would like to do this August 1st- August 4th.  Would you agree to this short summer vacation now so we can make hotel arrangements?

Also by Tuesday AM, I will be giving $X-Amount to the Child Support office.  Best regards, The X

Now I will attempt to translate his email to those of you who are new to the world of Narcissism or are currently being manipulated and victimized by someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Dear Tina- I need to tell you what a victim I am (by no fault of my own) and how you have wronged me.

Let me just slip in a quick request for overnight visits out of the county when the court and Judge have found that I am not healthy, sane or trustworthy enough to have our children for overnight visits.  Maybe we can just let bygones be bygones and you can forget that you’ve been fighting to protect our daughters for three years?  It comes down to the fact that I need new photos of our daughters having fun at amusement parks so that my friends on Facebook will believe what a great father I am.     

Oh, by the way- I will pay you the child support that I’ve been neglecting to pay for much of the past year if you agree to what I want.  If you don’t agree then you can forget it.  Best Regards, The X


To those of you who have also had the “Narcissist Light Bulb Moment”, do you think that I covered everything?  Anything that you would add to the people still trying to find the light switch?  Feel free to comment!

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  1. Stacey

    Does he tell the girls he wants to take them to the zoo and legoland, and then tell them that Mommy won’t let them go? Does he remind them that they could be doing something fun, if only Mommy wanted them to have fun with Daddy? Thats what my ex does.

  2. natalia

    Amen on that interpretation! If EVER I ask for something, there is ALWAYS some ludicrious request that comes back. The only thing I think you miissed is the covert guilt trip…”my mom and I want to…”… implying ‘look how much you suck because you are keeping the girls from having wonderful experiences with their grandmother.’ And ‘you value the girls having time with their friends more than time with me’.
    Great job on seeing clearly through the veil! You rock, Tina!

  3. Jen Dinette

    ha ha! Isn’t it awesome when you finally can see it exactly for what it is? It’s like having special prescription “narc glasses” to see clearly that which was was once blinded by our overwhelming emotions of anger and disbelief. I think you covered it pretty good but I would like to add how considerate he has been in the past by taking the girls to at least 6 other parties and how flexible he is being by his compromising position of rearranging the scheduled time. You really should be grateful for such a wonderful and gracious man who puts his daughters well being above all else…NOT! LOL The N’s mindset literally amazes and astounds me but it no longer controls my emotions or reactions.(most of the time!;)) Wishing you the best with all that you are dealing with!

  4. Jenelle Marie

    “There have been a minimum of 6 birthday parties on Saturday I have brought the girls to over the past 3 years. I am only to assume that your libel and slander about me and my family to the other mothers that will be at the party would make it an uncomfortable situation for every parent there that you have gossiped negatively to about me. Personally I would have no problem meeting everyone and showing the other parents that I am just a good dad and a pleasant person”

    His email could be word for word something I would get from my X. The above part also is not just victimization it is also manipulation basically saying, “Be careful, I KNOW i’m not the crazy one here and the last thing you want is for me to prove to the world how it’s all your fault and you’re the crazy one. I have done nothing wrong, it’s all due to YOU”. It’s simply a veiled threat in their head, “I hold the power, you are lucky I don’t embarrass you and prove you’r assumptions and lies wrong, and be thankful that I GIVE you the ability to play the victim”.

    Just my humble opinion as my ex still frequently tries to do this.

  5. M.

    He’s a blame gamer! And the fact that he is a blamer is all your fault-or maybe it’s my fault-Lord knows:) “Narc glasses” on-(Love that)!!! Girls are with dad and I needed to relate and a bit of pick-me-up today. Thanks guys. Blessings

  6. Michele

    I think that sums it up pretty well. I am thankful to have found you Tina <3 I hope to one day be able to not let the nastygrams I get effect me. xxoo

  7. Heather

    Lol. I’m glad it at least got you a response. We all know how frustrating those bassackwards responses are, but at least you got what you wanted, which was an answer to the scheduling question.

    I confess I was pretty excited when I opened the email notification at work today. Felt like I was fronting for a rock star 😛

    It was the perfect timing because I really needed the pick me up. I just discovered today my Ex stole $600+ out of a savings account which my bank assured me multiple times was not a joint account–that he had been removed.

    Blink, blink.

    It was still a joint account. The bank did not remove him.

    This was my emergency savings. I’ve spent 8 months now saving that money up. It goes in, and it doesn’t go out. The only withdraw I’ve made from that account was $500 to put towards an attorney retainer the day he threatened me with violence in front of our daughter’s therapist.

    So yeah, the pick up today was just perfectly timed.

  8. I’ve gotten those SAME decoded emails!!!! I’m starting to sense that our exes are related. Like twins separated at birth. I love the addition of the child support. Mine usually adds a statement about how he just hates being behind. Yeah, hates it so much that it’s been a year. And I too, have “diarrhea of the mouth” according to my ex. Everyone would love him and his life would be SO easy, if I wasn’t “trying to screw him at every turn.” (Yes, I was mean enough to ask for the Attorney General’s help in collecting child support. Mean, mean, mean.)

  9. Janine

    I think you nailed it perfectly. So, is 6 birthday parties in 3 years for 2 young girls supposed to be considered a lot? If you were to break it down to 2 per year, one per kid (even if it isn’t actually the case) it really is nothing. They are such pathetic losers. But obviously talented in pulling the wool over intelligent women’s eyes.

  10. Tammy

    I have hundreds of the emails and texts that read just like that. Thanks for giving me the insight to read them so differently than I use to.
    Here is a typical response I get with just one question.

    In response to your question of money. You have had me funding your behavior and lifestyle in secret for YEARS. That is at an end! We share the boys 50/50. I have taken a pay cut and you have gotten pay raises, and chose not to disclose it! You choose not to work, and I work like a dog, not see my children, and my children not have me fully in their lives as I had been since they were born, why? Is It because I was a liar and cheat? I was a bad husband, friend, father, not a hard worker or good provider, not giving the best in life to my family? No, because you wanted anything but what you had in front of you! It has become very apparent that I have to alter my schedule to make sure my children get the proper parenting and supervision 2 boys require.

    I’m not sure what he was funding, but I guess he forgot I worked for 20 years and for the first 13 years was the main provider for our family. I’m also not sure what he says I didn’t disclose, he was the one the judge caught altering his pay stubs. Also how can I get pay raises when I refuse to work.

    The emails can be so confusing to read, my X loves to sprinkle a little of the truth with a bunch of lies. I have resigned myself to the fact this will never change, but it sure makes a world a difference when you read those emails with your eyes wide open.

  11. z

    I think you nailed it – the translation into normal human language, that is. My ex does the same – sees any minor request as an opportunity to present ten thinly veiled demands in return. After a little while, I stopped asking for anything at all. Fair? No. Less trouble in the end? Yes. Co-parenting with an N is an exercise in futility, and I do my best to manage my expectations.

    He’ll have a harder time with his use of the birthday parties to try and control you once the girls are older. They will know that he chooses to deprive them of fun events for no reason, and that’s going to hurt him in the end.

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