You’re Not Protecting the Kids

Please understand that everything I say in this series comes not from professional counseling or professionally collected statistics. I come to you as one whose husband was a narcissist, and as a woman who has an unsettling number of friends who were also married to narcissists. Each of our experiences was different, yet also disturbingly alike in many ways. The fact that living with their narcissist fathers seriously, negatively, affected our children is consistent.

Our children are one huge reason so many victims stay with narcissistic spouses (and yes, it can be the wife who is the narcissist). They are one of the reasons I stayed, for sure. How could it be right to deprive them of a father, after all?

Except it wasn’t me who deprived them of a father; it was their father. He had time for them if he could benefit from the “investment,” but for the most part… Well, let’s just say I wasn’t surprised by my oldest son’s reaction to the news that I didn’t want to have a funeral or even a memorial.

He was relieved. As it turned out, he and his brother had already discussed how they could possibly come up with something nice to say about their dad if they had to speak at a funeral. 

And that right there pretty much says it all. Well, not all. It gets worse.

See, I thought I was protecting them, but instead I was not only not protecting them, I was letting it appear that I was complicit. For instance, every summer for several years I worked the homeschool curriculum fair circuit with my publisher and another vendor to earn money for the curriculum and supplies Jack claimed to be unable to afford. It was a God thing for which I was very grateful. I was also grateful for my amazing mother-in-law, who let them stay with her every time I had to leave. Every. Time.

From the day they were born, Jack would not be responsible for his sons. Period. Plus, with me gone and the kids gone, he was free to spend all the time he wanted with other women. The problem was that I never made it clear to the kids what was happening so, as I found out much later, they thought we were going on vacation all the time and leaving them behind.

Nope. No vacation. Well, I think in the 41 years we were married we took two, and our youngest, who was a baby, went with us on the first.

So yeah, I was not only failing to protect them from his neglect; I was letting it appear that I was actively choosing to neglect them too. It’s no wonder that, as adults, they spent a lot of time not coming around.

And then there is another family, and the kids who fell completely for their father’s brainwashing. They were there when things went down, violent things; some were even victims of the violence, but to my knowledge he has most of them convinced that all the problems they had were a result of their mother’s actions. They don’t speak to her today.

I can’t go on. I can’t share the other stories I’ve heard, the pain and suffering innocent children have gone through as their narcissistic fathers dealt out mental and emotional abuse, gaslighted, isolated… all while their innocent mothers thought they were doing what was right, trying to be the good wife, trying to avoid divorce, falling for the lie that they were the ones with the problem, that they were crazy, that they were unhinged, that they were lying and those things never happened.

Mama (or Dad), if you choose to keep walking the walk with God by your side, YOU CAN survive and even thrive while continuing to live with your narcissist: I did. But don’t assume that you’ll be able to protect your kids. God can, but you can’t. If God tells you to stay put, then by all means stay put. But if He doesn’t…

And here I repeat myself, as I expect to throughout this series. Abuse comes in many forms that are not physical, and in my opinion it’s the non-physical abuse that leaves the most open wounds. If you are a parent, this isn’t just about you; it’s about your kids too, and you need to go to God before you decide to keep them in an abusive situation.

They’re worth it. They’re worth everything.

And so are you!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

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