Relationships with Narcissists are tumultuous at best. When we have children with them, it becomes a whole new ballgame, as the children are typically used against the healthy parent in ways that would make an outsider’s head spin. But despite the nature of Narc relationships, there are ways to maintain a close bond to your children.
This concept truly intrigues me because I am struggling to maintain a relationship with my children despite how much my NX is trying to drive a wedge in between. So I researched ways I could deepen the connection with my children. Ways that I could still associate with them. Ways that I could form a deeper bond.
This is something I desperately cling to. It’s one of the few things that I know that I can do. By being involved, you are inadvertently showing the children that you are interested in their lives.
One way I know how to do that is by being as involved as I can be in their education. My NX was never forthcoming with information regarding my children’s education anyway, so I knew that it was up to me to foster an open line of communication with the schools.
At the beginning of each school year, since they moved around so much, I would contact the main office of the school and introduce myself. Sometimes, that would mean faxing a copy of the divorce decree to prove I am who I say I am. And I’m okay with that! I would learn of the names of the children’s teachers and send out emails to them. During the school year, I would even mail self addressed stamped envelopes to get back artwork, schoolwork and report cards.
If you have access to a parent portal at your child’s school, I highly recommend getting access to it. I know that many younger elementary school-age children do not have parent portals. This depends on the school district. When my daughter was in the second grade, I had access to a parent portal. But her third, fourth and fifth grades years, she did not (mainly because she was in other school systems). Now that she’s in the sixth grade, I can access a parent portal again.
Furthermore, it would greatly help to deepen a relationship with your child when you show active interest in what they are learning in school. And that means talking to their teachers. If you are a far away parent like I am, this would mean communication via email and/or phone calls. When your children hear that you are staying in touch with their teachers, it can subconsciously tell them that you are interested in their lives.
The times I am with my children, I ensure that I am as open as I can be with them. My children are still young, so things need to remain on an age-appropriate level for now.
If my children approach me and ask questions, I need to be open with them. By doing so, I am showing them that I am not hiding my feelings or my thoughts. Children need to know that we adults can be approachable.
When you talk with your child, make eye contact. That is perhaps the single most important thing when it comes to communicating with your children. They need to see you. They need to know they have your undivided attention. Also, put down whatever task you are doing at the moment (whether it be doing laundry, putting dishes away, etc). Kneel down to your child’s level or sit down on the couch with them. When they feel they are equal to us, they are more apt to hear us.
The pen is mightier than the sword
When I can’t speak to my children on the phone or via Skype, I take to the pen. A pen and paper, that is. Writing handwritten letters shows children that you have taken the time and effort to foster a relationship with them. I ask about school (like if they’ve had a good day), what kinds of things they have been learning, about the games they play on the TV/computer (like Minecraft).
By asking questions of your children in this way, you are showing them that you are interested in what they are doing in their lives. That you want to know.
To be or not to be
Another incredibly important way to deepen the bond with your children is providing them choices. When I am with my children, I give them these choices. Now, they aren’t life-altering choices, mind you. They are just simple choices, like where to go for dinner or which toy they’d rather have when we go somewhere. Asking them, “Well I can buy you two things, so which two things would you like?” Or asking my daughter something like, “Would you rather wear the shirt with the butterfly or the shirt with the stripes?” This allows the children to enter into a decision making process that they normally would not get with the Narcissist. The children would learn that you care what they have to say. That you want to know what they think and feel. That their opinion matters.
The perfect example of this was when I saw my children in the summer of 2016. My daughter is entering a time in her life where she needs her mother. I had a small discussion with her to let her know certain things. I had taken her to a store and presented her with a choice. She thought about it for a moment and then said, “No you don’t need to get it right now.” And I said, “I respect your decision.”
You see, my friends, my response to my daughter that day taught her that I respect her. Narcissists don’t respect anyone, so when the healthy parent tells their children they are respected, it gives the children a feeling of belonging and acceptance. They need to know that! Continue to do that and they will, over time, see the differences between you and the Narcissist all on their own.
Children have an innate need to be heard. They need to know that what they think and feel is okay. I validate my children’s feelings whenever I talk to them. I let them know that it’s okay to be angry or scared or upset. They need to know that there is no right or wrong way to feel about something. When you foster an open line of communication like this to your children, they will instinctively know that you are relating to them. They will see the differences between you and the Narcissist in this respect. (This is because the Narcissist does not and will never love the children, and could care less about what the children think or feel. Instead, they brush the children aside or yell at them for crying when the child has every reason to cry.) I also let my children know (especially my daughter) that they can come to me to talk about anything whenever they need to talk. Doing this allows them to understand that you want to hear what they have to say.
What are your experiences with fostering a deeper bond with your children? Comment below. And as always, I appreciate you for sharing your stories.
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Greetings, my warrior survivor friends! Welcome to my blog. I'm Julianna, the owner and creator of this site. Check out the My Story section to read about why I started this blog. Thanks for stopping in. And feel free to comment on any post, share your own thoughts and stories. I would love to hear from you!
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The content of this site is told from the blog author/owner's personal experience of dealing with a male Narcissist. Narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths are both male and female, and come from all walks of life. Furthermore, the content contained herein is not intended to be a replacement for medical or legal counsel. This blog's sole purpose is to provide support to those who have endured Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse.