Dear Dr. Romance:
I'm a victim of emotional & mental abuse by my hopefully soon-to-be-ex husband. The sad truth is that he doesn't recognize what he's doing, or refuses to, and I'm very worried for my young son. I have shared custody with the father. I have recently found an article about Narcissistic Personality Disorder that described my situation and gave me a little comfort. Have you had experience with this disorder? Do you have any suggestions to help my son deal with his father's disorder until my son is older enough to understand/protect himself? Do you have any suggestions to help me deal with this person without going insane? Thank you so very much for your time and assistance.
Remember when your son was two years old? Narcissistic Personality Disorder is essentially a person who never grew emotionally beyond age two. There are many possible reasons for this,but the most prevalent is having parents who never demanded that their child learn to control histemper and emotions. This is what's going on with your soon-to-be-ex. Thank you for directing me to the website -- it's very useful.
Essentially, you have to treat your ex as a grown-up version of a two-year-old. Give him specific choices, and re-direct him from his focus with them. For example; Don't say "Don't be late topick up our son" Instead, say "Are you going to pick up our son from school, or from here?" Remember that narcissists are run by seeking narcissistic supply. They always want validation that they're important, that they are in charge, that you will give them what they want. Therefore,to keep them on their best behavior, withhold emotionally. A narcissist will not always behave well, no matter what you do, but he'll behave better more of the time if you are cool and distant. He will also behave better if there are witnesses, so try to have a friend or relative around whenyou have to be in his presence.
Don't let him think he's in charge, and don't try to placate him. When he misbehaves or loses his temper, get away from him, even if that means you have to leave your own house. In fact, it's better not to allow him in your house, for that reason. "Family Violence Q & A" and "How to Keep Yourself Out of a Violent Relationship" will help you understand how to handle him better. When you're ready, It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction will show you how to find out the roots of your experiences.