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Celebrate Today because Your Story Isn’t Over

Today, people of the world, is my daughter’s 14th birthday. The second born of my threefold. Once upon a time this daughter of mine was an emmanese speaking, toddling, blonde haired, blue eyed beauty. She is my little love, my mini me, in nearly every way. Momma’s little M&M. There are so many things I hope my threefold learns on their journey. Today, I hope she celebrates, because it means her story isn’t over yet.

This child that I love with my whole heart, made me wonder for the longest time if she embodied the entire curse of threefold that my mother bestowed on me before she died. After all, Ms. Thing, was the one I was pregnant with when the curse was issued and 53 days after my mother’s death I had this beautiful baby girl, the deuce of my trio. I have realized, that she though challenging and a fierce force is only a piece of my threefold. Yet, very much a key piece, a piece that makes me, me.

The Deuce

My M&M as I’ve called her since before she was born has changed from that little toddling, pint sized, sassy, and bright eyed baby into this amazingly inspiring young woman. Not only has she transformed her style {at least 5 times} but she has transformed in ways that I was once scared I might not see. Today we celebrate that growth, both in maturity and soul .

Just from a year ago, I’ve seen this young child begin to become a young woman. I’ve seen a fighter, a person with fierce determination, and with a heart that loves without limit. In addition, I’ve witnessed her overcome obstacles, stomp stigma surrounding her mental illness and gain a new perspective on the world around us. This has been beautiful to watch.

The Struggle is Real

If you have followed my threefold for a while, then you are familiar with our struggles and battles over the past year. We are stronger than yesterday, but we still have so much to learn. All of us. It hasn’t been an easy road, but nevertheless we are moving forward. Together.

I am truly proud of my threefold for how they have grown over this year. After six hospitalizations for #2 over nearly 30 weeks, year to date, I’d say celebration is called for. I fought for her, but the key in us overcoming these battles is her continual fight for herself.

Celebrate!

Celebrate each day! Every day you have with your family, friends, tribe or network of supporters is another day to celebrate. Be kind. You never know the struggles someone else is facing behind closed doors. Speak up against abuse, it’s not ok in any form. Finally, choose to keep moving forward, because this is just a bump. Somewhere you’ll find the message in the mess! You’ve got this! Stay positive! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Kids Aren’t ‘Mini Gods’ to be Worshipped. They are Human and Deserve Respect.

This post has been floating around the social media scene. I’ve seen it shared many times already. I have posted it in its entirety for you to form your own opinion on the piece and it’s message to the parents of the world. However, it’s my belief that this type of post leans towards conditional love in parenting and how we as adults set unreasonable expectations on kids. No, Mr. Merrell, kids aren’t ‘mini gods’ to be worshipped. However, they are human, and deserve to see their value, be respected and loved.

You are your own worst critic

The Original Post

O/P by Walt Merrell, District Attorney: If you raise your child to believe that they always deserve a trophy; or that they always do a great job; or that they never fall short or do a mediocre or less than job; or that they lost the game because the ump stole the game; or that the failed because someone wronged them; or that they don’t have to go to practice; or that the teacher is always out to get them; or that the coach is always wrong….

Then one day when they have a boss who doesn’t accept their less than eager efforts, then your adult child will be frustrated by the constructive criticism… and then they will steep in their own pride of believing they couldn’t possibly do any better because they are always right or they are always the victim, and that their boss is wrong and just out to get them.

And then they will get fired and never understand that you lied to them far too many times, and to their own detriment.

Children are minds and souls to be taught and molded. They are not mini-gods meant to be worshiped.

Don’t build their future in false beliefs, for it will only result in resentment based on yesterday’s lies. Instead… teach them well. End of O/P

I don’t agree with people who are wrong

A Different Perspective

If parents are overly critical, whom only show affection to the child when the parent feels the child has ‘earned’ it or ‘deserves’ such positive attention, where does this leave the child? What happens when a child doesn’t feel the unconditional love and acceptance from their parent(s). When a child always feels not quite good enough? If a parent doesn’t express pride for the child doing their best even if it is second best or twenty first? How does it affect the child when a parent can’t make a child feel they have value in this world? Isn’t it the parents’ responsibility to help their children find their strengths versus always notating their weaknesses?

The Other End of the Spectrum

As a result, the likelihood of children who grow into adults who have self confidence, are independent and secure, and able to go after their true passions is hindered substantially.
Instead, you have children who become adults who aim to please others. They can grow up to believe they deserve mistreatment, abuse and aren’t worthy of praise, respect, acceptance or love. Furthermore, they have that same negative self talk inside their heads that they heard growing up.

They don’t feel accepted by their peers, colleagues, or partners. These children have grown to believe their family doesn’t even value them. In turn, they don’t feel comfortable being themselves nor do they gain a sense of autonomy in the world.
In conclusion, there is a higher chance that these adults will give up all hope of success because they feel they will fail before they start. Therefore, what’s the point of trying? Another path this could take is they will become perfectionists who pursue external validation from others and are discontent with the trajectory of their life.
As you can see, it’s not all option ‘a’, ‘b’ or ‘c’. It’s child-specific. It’s a balance of reward and consequence.
It’s an ever changing process this parenting game and NO ONE hasthe guidelines or rule book. You can mess your kids up by being hard and strict. Guess what? You can mess them up when you’re parenting style is soft and lenient.

Kids are human and deserve love

Unreasonable Expectations

I feel as parents we are often holding our children to unreasonably high standards. In most cases, I would say these standards aren’t even attainable by the adults who are setting them. How many times have have you held the bar above your own capabilities and expected your child to jump?

I have done it. I’ve fussed over my child not keeping their room tidy. Yet, my room may be in disarray. In addition, I’ve told my kids a million times to lose the attitude or even to suck it up. In all honesty, I would catch an attitude or get upset over that same situation if I was the one in their shoes. Furthermore, I’ve given my kids hell over a bad grade or performance. Guess what, if I was the one graded on my work each day, ha! I doubt if I would have ‘A’s’ marked on every single assignment.

Failure is part of life. It doesn’t mean we throw up our hands and say ‘to hell with it’ or don’t figure out how to fix it. We do have to teach our kids to be responsible for their actions, but they will fail. It’s inevitable. My goal is to show my kids that failure is only the beginning of the journey, not the end. This is when they need us to help them to embrace the challenge of getting back up.

Kids are Humans Too

To pretend there is some science behind predicting a child will be hyper sensitive to criticism if never criticized is just as plausible as its counterpart. That being said, is it not as plausible that a child is just as likely of becoming hyper sensitive to criticism after being constantly criticized?

Do they always deserve a trophy? NO. Do they always need to have an excuse or a bad guy to blame? NO. We can teach accountability and responsibility. Meanwhile, we need to also teach finding the strengths within oneself with the ability to identify weaknesses. This is how they learn to improve upon both of those aspects of themselves. We teach accountability and acceptance of their shortcomings. It’s equal parts of both praise and constructive criticism.

There isn’t a one size fits all parenting strategy it’s like folding a fitted sheet.

It Ain’t Easy

Mommin’ ain’t easy! Being a parent is hard! Regardless if you are a mom, dad, step parent, foster parent, adoptive parent etc…it’s a struggle and a lot of hard work. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with glitter glue embellishments. It’s the hardest job you’ll ever love. In addition, being a parent is probably also the most underpaid and under appreciated blessings you’ll ever curse at times. There isn’t a one size fits all way to get it right when parenting. The emotional and mental needs of a child are just as unique as we are. While physical needs are mostly standardized, the other facets of parenting are much more complex.

They aren’t ‘mini gods’ to be worshipped but they are people who are deserving of love and respect.
Teach them to be humble and to hustle, while also teaching confidence and character. No worship required, just respect and positive reinforcement that outweighs the negatives the rest of the world will be shoving in their face.

Teach them right, not well.
Teach them they’ve got this, because they’ve got someone who believes in them.

☮️❤️😊~M

Mommin’ ain’t easy we are the glue that holds it all together.
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To the Narcissistic Father of My Children:

To the Narcissist who fathered my three girls:

It’s been a while since we have spoken. However, today we did and I listened as you complained about how I have withheld visitation from you. I heard you as you spoke about my inability to communicate in a healthy way. I was forced to hear you blaming me for everything that our children are going through. I saw you roll your eyes when you saw the diagnosis of ‘trauma disorder’ listed on the paperwork. I saw the look of disgust on your face as I talked about recommendations for medication given by the doctors. I saw your eyes as they lit up as you listened to the way our daughter terrorized the household and felt the need to defend your every move.

#1 is the conformer of the group. She is the one that doesn’t rock the boat. She abides by the rules. I hear the constant apologies and the overwhelming guilt. She feels like if she makes herself small that she will stay safe.

#2 is the rebellious one. She spoke up so all of this is her fault. She is the scapegoat, the black sheep who started this all. You blame her for everything. You tried to shun her for being honest about your abuse. The abuse is ongoing. The fact is, she never stopped loving you only herself. She cut her body to shreds and tore her skin open, yet you still don’t see the pain you’ve caused. How are you so blind?

#3 is the golden child who does nothing wrong. She hasn’t seen the abuse the way her sisters have. The psychological torment you have inflicted is what she struggles with most. She is too young to understand, but she will. She is your last ally. You ply her with treats and gifts. Nonetheless, she still sees you as the super hero that does no wrong. You are the good guy. Your lies and manipulation are always forced onto her as truth. As a result, you have turned her against her sisters and I. She is your last hope, but you’ll hurt her too.

Then there is me. The ex wife who is crazy and tries to keep you from your kids. I am the only one that knows you and the monster inside. The marks on my face you once called love. The scars that are still left behind from the past remind me of that monster everyday.

Yet, I’m still standing. I’m still cleaning up the messes you leave behind. I work twice as hard now to protect these girls. I work even harder to provide for them. While you try to buy their love and affection, I earn it with my presence and consistency. I’m not the perfect person, and definitely not the perfect mom. However, I try my best every day, for them.

I will keep going and I will keep getting better. They are worth it. I hope one day you will appreciate their love for you and all the chances they give you to change. Maybe one day you’ll take the opportunity. However many times they choose to forgive you is a choice they make. Even if you hurt them every time, somehow, they are the ones that always take the first step to fix it.

I just hope that you don’t take the last pieces of them and destroy them completely. Although, I’m terrified that you will. I’m never going to keep them from you. In all honesty, I wish you would go away. Maybe then, they would have a chance to love themselves as I love them. I pray one day they will see themselves through a different lens than the one you created. Until then, I’ll be the mom they need me to be and work twice as hard to help them heal.

In case you didn’t know. I’ve got this.

~M

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Parenting Hacks for Raising Teenagers

In case, I haven’t said it recently, mommin’ ain’t easy! If I’m the judge I think I would take the stinky diapers, tantrums, and baby proofing my whole home over raising teenagers! This level is hard! However, as a mom to my threefold <my three daughters> and the bonus mom to another, I have a few parenting hacks for raising teenagers. Yes. That’s right! Honestly, I’ve probably been lucky so far, but I have my days. In fact, there are days when I am screaming my head off while pulling out my hair!

Mommin’ Ain’t Easy

If you have a teenager you know! The truth is, raising Teenagers is hard work! If you have a rocky relationship with your teenager I know how you feel. On the other hand, if you have an awesome relationship with your teenager, I also know how you feel. Furthermore, if you have a relationship that could go either way from one day to the next, I’ve been that mom too. That’s the curse and the blessing of having four girls. Honestly, if one acts one way the other two act differently and with girls there is always drama! If I’m not in the middle of it, the cause of it, or have to fix it then that’s my idea of a good day!

The Mommin’ Manual

If you know me, you’ll know, I’m the mom who repeats ‘I love my kids. I love my kids. I love my kids!’ Obviously, I do, but this is my mantra as when I am increasingly irritated and want to fly off the edge of patience into momster mode. I didn’t get a mommy manual. Furthermore, the mom/daughter dynamics we hear about and see seem to be made-for-tv BFF bullshit or rivalry and rebellion. There is rarely an in between.

Real talk. We all have our own parenting styles and that’s ok. I’m more of the overly involved, anxious, pushover but with rules. In the end, I want my kids to come to me if they have a problem, not be scared. However, am I right in being that way? Hell if I know. I’m winging my mom life, remember?

Parenting Hacks for Raising Teenagers

No, I don’t have a mommy manual and yes, I’m winging it as I go. However, winging it has helped be successful even it hasn’t gotten me any mom of the year awards. As a momma to three girls and a bonus daughter, who all range in age from 10-18, I’ve had to learn a few parenting hacks to save my sanity and my relationships with these four girls.

Hacks and Hand Me Downs

  1. To start, my number one hack when I need to figure out how to handle my teens is to remember to be the mom I needed when I was their age.
  2. Next, I remember what being a teenage girl was like for me. Even though, it was over 20 years ago!
  3. Another way, I parent is that I listen before I react or respond. 9/10 a thoughtful response goes further than a screaming match ever will.
  4. Wifi passwords can change. I have fallen in love with the app that controls our wifi that I can pause from wherever. I can assign devices and the kid who hasn’t acted right can have their service suspended, Meanwhile, the others can continue living with the luxury of access. Best invention ever!
  5. I gave my kids prepaid phones, no contract. That phone has become the best and worst thing in our lives. It is a wonderful tool if needed. Yes, I resort to bribes when necessary.
  6. In addition, if you miss school you do not have a social life. Don’t say you are sick and then ask if boyfriend or bestie can come by. No.
  7. If my kids want something from me, then they better be willing to work for it. I’m not rich, if they want me to flip the bill for their movie night with their friends or birthday gifts, then they need to do their part. After all, nothing in life is free.
  8. In my opinion, one thing has helped us connect is my threefold and Ione on one time. We do what they are into. Since I have three, I usually aim for one day each per month and one family day all together.
  9. Something else we’ve done is family dinner. Sometimes, this ends in frustration and irritation. Mostly, it end with laughs and communication about the highs and lows of each child’s day.
  10. Like most teenagers, my threefold need to hear the good things about them. Do they make faces and huff when they don’t want to do something, absolutely. However, I do too!
  11. Cut them a little slack. No they can’t get away with skipping school or failing grades. But, hey, if they get a C or even a D on a test, it happens! If they say they need ‘a day off’ and that’s not a regular request, let them. It’s not the end of the world!
  12. Stop holding kids to standards you as an adult can’t reach! If I was graded for my job, I definitely wouldn’t have straight A’s. My attitude is sketchy sometimes. I don’t want to get up in the morning either. I don’t clean my plate. I don’t watch my mouth. I’m not going to make my child feel like perfection is attainable. It’s not.
  13. Finally, let them be themselves. If they can’t be comfortable at home then where are they supposed to be? Honestly, don’t allow your short sidedness hinder them feeling able to be exactly who they are. In addition, know that as a teen that identity will change multiple times.

How My Mom Skills have Helped Me

#1

I know nearly everything my 18 year old does, not because I read her messages or track her phone location, but because she tells me. In fact, I would say she overshares with me at times! When she knew her and her boyfriend of 2 years were headed towards the main event when she was 17, she came to me. We talked about it and took the necessary actions.

#2

My 14 year old has always lacked a filter, but at least she is honest {mostly}. However, as she has begun to mature, her communication got better. For example, when she came out and said she was attracted to other girls, I was able to process the information. This led to more inclusivity of her friends and others. In addition, as a family we were able to support her and boost her confidence in sharing her once secret with others in her life.

#3

This child of mine, she is still young , at only 10. Not all of my methods work for her yet, because she still has less independence. However, I do know that my patience and consistency are key to her feeling heard when she expresses herself. In addition, validation and not feeling like perfection is necessary to please me allows her to feel more comfortable to be herself.

#Bonus

As for my bonus daughter who is 16, I feel my not being overly critical has made us closer. If I have an issue, I will address it mostly with her dad before her. However, we have some heart to heart conversations as well. I don’t try to be her parent, but I try to treat her like my own. That’s a hard balance. In a way, I’m not overstepping but I’m making sure that she is invited and involved in family days, outings, and our routines when she is with us.

Hacks for raising Teenagers

No Method is Perfect

My methods have worked out for me in many ways on this journey. It’s far from perfect and I screw up sometimes, too. I’m going to keep doing me, and you can do you! There isn’t a one size fits all parenting style.

My teenagers test me with their smart ass mouths {that sound just like mine} and quick comebacks quite often. At the end of the day, I know that my threefold isn’t afraid to talk to me. That’s the beauty of it. As always, stay positive! We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M psss: follow My Threefold on Facebook

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Counter-Parenting the Narcissist

counter-parenting vs, co-parenting

Narcissistic parents don’t understand co-parenting. Dealing with this situation means you are counter-parenting the narcissist constantly. I’m here to tell you being the counter parent is extremely draing. As a result, the children are left stuck in the middle of a nasty game of tug of war. Divorce is difficult for any family to experience. However, when one of the parties involved is a narcissist the complications of figuring out co-parenting can feel very one sided. Especially, when your efforts seem to be always deterred and the narcissist actively is pushing against every move you make. A narcissist aims to control, even their children, and they go to great lengths to exert that control. 

Co-parenting vs. Counter-Parenting

Most people think when you get divorced that both parents will take on responsibility for the care of their children. That’s what I also thought would happen. I was SO wrong! When you divorce a narcissist you don’t typically see two parents seeking the best interests of their children. Instead, you have one parent who is trying to hold it all together for everyone and another that is only looking out for their own interest. It’s exhausting!

Co-parenting

Co-parenting is defined, by Wikipedia, as is an enterprise undertaken by parents who together take on the socialization, care, and upbringing of children for whom they share equal responsibility. The co-parent relationship differs from an intimate relationship between adults in that it focuses solely on the child. This a concept that a narcissist does not grasp. Consequently, this makes coparenting only a game for a narcissist to gain access to you or as a way to hide their true colors from others. Furthermore, if you have been in a relationship for as long as I was, you tend to lean towards trying to reason and understand their behavior. In all honesty, the narcissist wants to be the decision maker and the person in control. When that doesn’t go according to plan, they don’t handle the loss of that power well. 

Coparenting means working as a team, towards a common goal, with the interests of your children as the top priority. This means discussing details, compromise, and making decisions together. In addition, co-parenting requires the parties to have respect for one another’s opinion. When one parent is a narcissist the chances of coparenting in a healthy way is nearly impossible. Afterall, coparenting would mean that the narcisisst actually need to agree you are right sometimes. The chances of that are next to nonexistent. 

Counter-Parenting

Counter-parenting is a term used to describe a parenting style that parents are forced to envoke when trying to co-parent with a narcissist. The word itself defines this parenting style. Counter-parenting is what the “healthy” parent does in order to fix the damage the narcissist has done to a child. Having a narcisistic parent often leads to increased anxiety, issues with self perception, and in more severe cases trauma disorders.  Furthermore, a narcissist will aim to go against nearly anything you try to establish. As you try to undo the confusion, they attempt to suck in the child with manipulation. 

Examples in which Counter-Parenting is Necessary

  1. The narcissist rewards bad behavior with toys, gifts, and special outings. This especially manipulative if the bad behavior is only happening at the parents house not rewarding the bad behavior. The child will begin to see they are getting rewarded when they tell the narcissist they yelled at their parent and refused to do what they say.
  2. Another way the narcissist works against you is that they pry for information. They seek out information about what the other parent is doing and typically does it in a way that involves the child getting a reward. They are seeking inforamtion to use against you the next time you have a comment to say about their parenting style.
  3. In addition, the narcissist is a master manipulator. They will very easily convince a child they are doing things right and the other parent is wrong. For example “I don’t think you need to take medicine, you’re not the problem.” 
  4. In my case, I have had the narcissist sugar up my kid, give her redbull (at 10), after allowing her to stay up all night and not give her the medicine she is prescribed for severe, combined type ADHD. Unfortunately, this was a way to “give me a hard time”. The intentions were to hurt me, not the child, but the child was the weapon used. A narcissist sees this type of behavior as funny, where as most healthy adults would say that is at the minimum unhealthy. 
  5. Lastly, I have often heard “I want to live with my dad” when my child does not want to do chores, homework, go to bed, or clean up her room. Unfortunately this is a response to neglectful parenting where there are no rules at dads. As a result, the child begins to believe the narcissist is the “fun parent” where the other parent is the “mean parent”. This only causes friction in the realtionship. 

Tips for Counter-Parenting with a Narcissist

Having boundaries in place and rules of engagement are key to dealing with a narcissist. Usually if you end a relationship you can simply stop all communication and cut all toxic ties. However, when children are involved this isn’t an option that will hold much weight in court. Unfortunately, manipulation and mental health factors aren’t taken as seriously in family courts. As a result, both parent and child are forced to maintain a relationship with the narcissist. Here are a few tips to help you deal with a narcissistic coparent.

  1. Parallel Parenting is a term many parents don’t have to familiarize themselves with. This term simply means having as little interaction as you possibly can with the narcissist. Do not speak unless it pertains to the children. If topics get off the children simply don’t respond, hang up, or walk away. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO EXPLAIN YOURSELF TO THIS PERSON ANYMORE!
  2. Use text and email for as much communication as possible. This gives a paper trail and also gives you the proof you need when they do get sideways with you about personal matters or switching time. Furthermore, act like the judge is looking at your message. Keep it short and to the point. Do not disclose any details, just the facts that are necessary. 
  3. Stick to the parenting plan. Don’t bend your life around their needs. They use it or lose it. Don’t trade weekends or accomodate their personal life. It may sound harsh, but I guarantee they won’t do it for you. 
  4. Set your boundaries. Do not allow what you feel uncomfortable with. If you don’t like the idea of your ex coming to pick up the kids at 3:00pm Friday because you don’t get off until 5:00pm, don’t agree! Again, you don’t have to accomodate them! 
  5. Don’t trash talk! Your children are already confused, sad and feel in the middle of the biggest fight of their lives thus far. Don’t make it worse for them by talking smack about the other parent. They will get all they need to hear from one side. Finally, rest easy knowing that you are doing modeling the behavior that the child will eventually realize was the appropriate way to handle things. 
  6. You are the safe parent. Most likely your child knows and has seen the narcissist act in ways that have made them scared. If your child is throwing the fit with you and saying words that the narcissist has said, then know that is not them speaking. As a result, you have to be both parents. 
  7. Remember that its ok to not do this right, but I promise you are doing it better than the narcissist is. Cut yourself some slack. One day, your kids will thank you for being the parent they needed even if you did always do what they wanted you to. 

issues

Seek Support for Yourself and Your Child

If you know that this behavior is damaging your child, then please seek support. I made sure my threefold and I were all in therapy directly after my separation. Getting ahead of the damage that will be inflicted and helping them to heal any damage that has already been done will be so beneficial. In addition, therapy allows for your child to have a safe place that isn’t mom or dad to vent their frustrations. As a result, your child will feel more validated in their feelings about the situation. 

I hope this is beneficial for my tribe of people who have or are survivors of narcissistic abuse. You aren’t alone. I also know how difficult it is to find your voice and your confidence to stand up to the narcissist. However, learning about how to counter parent in a way that shut the narcissist down helped me.  In addition, when I set my boundaries and held my ground I grew stronger in my ability to protect my threefold and I. Honestl;y, I have been sucked back into his toxic manipulation multiple times since I left. As a result, I allowed each of us to be hurt by those lies time and again. Actually, it was when I set my boundaries and made them clear that we started to heal more. Finally, I found my senses and realized that the lies were only empty promises of change that never came to light. 

Stay Positive! We’ve got this! ♥ ~ M psssss,,,follow on facebook!

red flags